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New shelter offers hope in New London

The Mission of Hope House is open and serving the needs of the New London community, thanks in part to generous grants from the Robert Dohr and Lilas Dohr Current Community Needs Fund and the Waupaca Area Community Foundation Fund within the Community Foundation.

By Carolyn Desrosiers, Community Engagement Manager

I recently visited the new Mission of Hope House in New London, which opened in February as a round-the-clock staffed family shelter seven days a week. I was extremely impressed with the progress this organization has made to care for our most vulnerable families.

The shelter is clean, bright, homey and thoughtfully designed to be trauma-informed, which means treating a whole person, taking into account past trauma and the resulting coping mechanisms.

Spaces include several wheelchair-accessible bedrooms and bathrooms, classrooms, a three-seasons room, a serve-safe kitchen and laundry facilities.

The shelter has taken safety very seriously with a locked entry, metal detector and security cameras.

Staff and Board members from left to right: Rachel Neely, Lori Prahl, Jill Engel, Vickie Frank, Dick Gamble.

Mission of Hope recently hired several staff members in dedicated roles including fund development and marketing, care planning and overnight/weekend staff.

They carefully took time to find experienced and caring candidates to fill those roles. Jill Engel, the new care plan manager, is a New London native who returned to the area two years ago. She has a degree in social services and case management experience with foster families and individuals with mental health needs, and is also a licensed attorney.

Mission of Hope has a lot of support from the Fox Valley, and collaborates with local school districts, Fox Valley Technical College, CAP Services, and a human services collaborative called Waupaca Partners.

The Bridge thrift store

The facility also has a thrift store, The Bridge, located across the street from the shelter. Open just three days a week, this store generated $40,000 last year in income. Generous donors also provide clothing, furniture, home goods and other items for free for individuals and families in need.

Last month during one of our heavy snow emergency days, a man came to the shelter wearing only slippers on his feet. He met with Jill, who walked him to the thrift store for winter foot gear. This was just one of many powerful stories the Mission of Hope team shared during my tour. They are very committed to outreach and prevention, and helping people in need move forward in their lives.

There is something really special happening at Mission of Hope House in terms of the level of collaboration, planning and community engagement. I highly encourage people to arrange for a tour and to consider ways in which they might play a role in the Mission of Hope House story.

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