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'It is an issue': Manitowoc County shelters discuss latest Point-in-Time homeless count findings

Posted at 7:15 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-06 15:18:54-04

MANITOWOC, Wis. (NBC 26) — Twice a year in the middle of the night, Michael Etheridge puts his boots on the ground to find those in need of shelter.

"We all go out as agencies along with other volunteers to count the homeless," the Executive Director of The Haven of Manitowoc County said.

It's called the Point-in-Time count. And last week in Manitowoc, Etheridge says his group located five unsheltered people and families.

"We found individuals on church property," he said. "We found individuals in the Walmart parking lot. We found individuals in the park."

Eight men currently live in Etheridge's shelter that has a 20-person capacity. He says they stay 60 to 90 days.

"We had two gentlemen that met with me the next day and we were able to get them in shelter, so that was a success," he said.

Etheridge says, in total, there are about 150 homeless individuals in the county, including around 60 in the city.

"That doesn't count the sheltered homeless and the other homeless that was out there that we didn't find," he said.

Abby Abbet and the family shelter Hope House walked around Two Rivers.

"We currently have 11 families on our waiting list in our community right now, along with about 54 other individuals that are in need of shelter right now," she said.

The Point-in-Time count is reported to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which helps the nonprofits gain funding.

"The best thing that we can do is continue to educate and raise awareness on the homelessness issue we have here," Abbet said.

Advocates say some other solutions include helping residents with employment, as well as tackling a lack of childcare and affordable housing.

"We are trying to do the best job possible to make sure that everyone has housing, that everyone has shelter," Etheridge said.

If you would like to support the Haven and Hope Hope in their efforts, both nonprofits are hosting a number of fundraisers in the coming months.

This summer, Hope House has also started an ongoing Donate a Day online fundraiser to benefit its guests.