Monday, November 22, 2021

Barron Dems to Help with Salvation Army Shelter Project

The holiday season is a good time to remember those less fortunate, especially the homeless. The Salvation Army has taken on a major project to open a homeless shelter to serve Barron and Polk County residents. The Salvation Army purchased a former nursing home a few miles out of Barron and is now in the process of repairing the building, furnishing the bedrooms and common spaces, and preparing for an opening in early spring 2022. The Salvation Army warming house in Rice Lake is no longer in operation. Benjamin House is now the only remaining shelter in Barron County, though Salvation Army does provide funds for emergency short stay shelter in area motels. 

According to an article in the Rice Lake Chronotype, the building was purchased with $525,000 in Community Development Block Grant Covid relief dollars plus $200,000 from Foster Friess. Economic Development Executive David Armstrong was instrumental in obtaining the CDBG funds. Churches and civic organizations are mobilizing now to provide additional funds and help prepare the space. The Rice Lake Community Health Foundation has established a matching fund donation of $15,000.

At this time Barron County Democrats are collecting donations of cleaning supplies and equipment. We are forming a work crew to help with repairs and setting up a plan to collect furniture for a number of bedrooms and common spaces at the shelter.

Please join us at an informational session, Saturday, December 4, from 10:00am to noon, at our office at 16 W. John St in Rice Lake. A Salvation Army representative will present plans for refurbishing the shelter space. The public is welcome to stop by for donuts and coffee and learn about the project. Face masks are required.