Before the coronavirus pandemic, SAM 25, an emergency homeless shelter in Shawano County, purchased a “forever home,” a new location with double the space to meet their growing need. A capital campaign kicked off last year to fund the renovations, which were expected to be completed by November 2020. The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the Shawano Area Community Foundation, and several other generous donors helped SAM25 start nearly five years ago to provide shelter, meals and personal care items, as well as life skills resources. Funding for the project is coming from many sources, including the Shawano Homeless Shelter Fund, the Tony and Betty Piantek Family Fund and Matty’s Fund, all within the Community Foundation.
By Dave Horst, Donor Services and Environmental Grants Manager
“One cannot shelter at home, without a home.”
The grant application from Shawano’s nonprofit shelter SAM 25 states the obvious, but it captures the problem faced during this pandemic crisis by the homeless and the shelters that house them.
SAM 25 (Shawano Area Matthew 25, Inc.) had to take the difficult step of closing the shelter to protect its guests and staff, but that doesn’t mean help for Shawano’s homeless is on a break.
With the help of a grant from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund within the Community Foundation, the shelter has been able to relocate residents to alternative temporary housing, provide them with food and clothing, offer gift cards for gasoline and vehicle expenses or transportation.
The fund was the quick and cooperative response by United Way Fox Cities and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region to the global pandemic. United Way and the Community Foundation made donations to establish the fund and their donors have been running with the idea ever since.
As of this date we have awarded $195,000 in grants with more to come. The fund is awarding grants to nonprofit and other community organizations engaging in immediate relief, short-term response and longer-term recovery in Outagamie, Calumet, Shawano and Waupaca counties and the Neenah-Menasha area of Winnebago County hurt by the public health emergency. During phase one, priority will be given to community-based organizations providing for the basic needs of people who are immediately and disproportionately suffering from this crisis.
SAM 25, continuing case management using a newly purchased on-call staff cellphone, also still seeks to find more permanent housing with assistance such as money for security deposits.