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Grace Place continues to improve lives of community members

The demands at the facility have increased significantly - annual dinner fundraiser scheduled

“It’s hard to believe it has already been two years since we moved to our new location here in New Richmond,” Grace Place shelter manager Lori Scheder said this week.

Grace Place Shelter has been operating as a homeless shelter for families with children and individuals for nearly 16 years, but for much of that time was only able to serve a few of the many who needed shelter.

Grace Place was located in Somerset for many years and helped so many families get back on their feet and permanently housed, but also had to turn away many families from the shelter.

The problem was becoming overwhelming with 129 families being turned away the year before the move to the bigger facility in New Richmond.

But that doesn’t mean the need has gone away, nor has the demand decreased.

Between 2014 and 2015 the number of families served at Grace Place in New Richmond has more than tripled, while the number of individuals has more than doubled.

Families served in 2014 was 28, but that number jumped to 90 in 2015.

Single individuals served in 2014 stood at 36, but that number increased to 79 in 2015.

The number of people housed at the Serenity Home in 2015 was 103.

The number of “bed nights” at the facility also doubled from 7,618 in 2014 to 14,776 in 2015.

Annual fundraiser

Grace Place Shelter in New Richmond will host a spaghetti dinner and open house Friday, Sept. 9, 4-7 p.m., in honor of its second year in the new location.

“Two years in this location is such a big deal.

“It means we haven’t had to turn people away very often because we have the space to care for people who really need housing”, director Duana Bremer, said.

“There have been times we have been at capacity housing 60 people including well over 20 children at a time, but we are able to help now that we have the space to do so.”

Grace Place Shelter is unlike any other shelter in the area. It is not just a place for people to land, eat a hot meal and get some sleep.

It is that, but so much more.

Grace Place is a program for people who need a fresh start.

When a family comes into shelter they are greeted with staff who truly care about each of their individual needs as well as the family unit as a whole.

Each family or individual is immediately paired with a case manager who works with them on a regular basis to formulate a plan for future success and permanent housing.

A family’s plan for success may include immediately making sure they are fed, warm and clothed. But closely followed behind is making sure proper medical attention is sought for any medical issues and then working to secure employment for long-term financial success.

While staying at Grace Place, residents are required to save a significant portion of their income they do make so when they leave, they will be financially able to make the necessary deposits and rent payments.

Case managers may also work to connect families, individuals and children with necessary resources in the community to make for a complete healthy individual or family unit including mental health resources, parenting courses, budgeting, stress management and drug and alcohol counseling, if needed.

Children who stay that are of school age can also participate in the one-of-a-kind tutoring program Grace Place Shelter offers thanks to the generous efforts of the retired teachers and volunteers who work to ensure that our homeless children get a helping hand even when things are hard at home, there can be success at school.

Bremer said, “We are so thankful to the support of the community. We could not serve this many people without the help of our volunteers, donations and kind hearted people who show up to ask, ‘how can I help?’”

She went on to say, “The support is overwhelming.”

When asked what Grace Place needs to continue to be successful the answer is clear, “Ongoing community support, donations and more of what we already have here with such a generous population. Donations are always needed. Volunteers are always needed. And we are already so blessed and thankful for the community in which we serve.”

If you would like to tour Grace Place Shelter Friday Sept. 9, from 4-7 p.m., head to Grace Place at 505 W. 8th St., New Richmond.

Ready Randy’s and RD Catering are making spaghetti at the shelter and you can eat for just a donation to the shelter.

You will also have the opportunity to tour the facility and there will be a jump house for the kids, too.

Plan to come before you head out to your local football game, plan to come as a family, but make sure to make a point to stop in and see what this amazing resource in our community is and how it is serving our most vulnerable in our homeless families, children and people in need.

For more information, call 715-246-1222 or like their Facebook page.

Submitted by Grace Place