The Transitional Shelter
Brittany Boyer is director of Saint Vincent de Paul’s Frederic Ozanam Transitional Shelter which provides emergency housing for homeless families or couples that reside within this general area. The shelter focuses on case management and job and parenting skills, with the goal of transitioning people out of homelessness. Right now, the Shelter has an 82% success rate, which Brittany called phenomenal. They have helped over 35 families get checked out in its brief history. A family may stay for four months, but if they need a little extra time, they may be extended to eight months, but that is an absolute deadline. Brittany meets with each family from two to four times a week. They work on setting goals, writing resumes, and parenting skills. The shelter also takes advantage of outside resources. A great deal of attention is paid to budgeting. The families have to save 80% of any income they have, whether it be earned income, disability insurance, or gift money. Then they work on budgeting for their needs from within their savings. Residents are also required to do daily chores such as washing dishes, wiping down counters, mopping, and vacuuming. The staff performs room checks, making sure there is no drug paraphernalia, alcohol, pornographic materials, or weapons. They check to be sure people have clean clothes and that the rooms are kept picked up. If residents can’t seem to follow the program, they are given 24 hours to vacate. Immediate dismissal is also possible, particularly if there is evidence of spousal or child abuse, but that hasn’t been necessary yet.
Tammy Schueller is volunteer coordinator at the Shelter. Volunteer opportunities include shelter attendance, activities coordinator, cleaning volunteer, and cooking/kitchen volunteer. The volunteers work two hour shifts and are especially helpful after 4 pm and weekends during the day. Volunteers might sit with children to give their parents a break, help with homework, involving children in activities, and cleaning and organizing. A “handy man” is a very special volunteer, as things do break. Go to www.stvincentsmarshfield.org for more information.