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Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal April 19, 2023

Last week we took the thermals, coats, boots and gloves out of the van as the weather had been warm and we were handing out T-shirts and shorts. To our surprise, a significant amount of cold and snow was expected and we needed to bring back the coats, gloves and hats to provide to our friends during the recent weather event. We're hoping for more temperate weather, as are our guests who have managed to survive a long, cold winter. The effects of the weather have been observed not just on the physical health of our brothers and sisters but their mental health, as well. People are tired. They are stressed and frustrated. 

Already this Spring we have heard that there is little access to free water.  For some people, the water and Gatorade we give out is of the utmost importance.  Some people keep the bottles we give and are refilling them at the library or Haven House but for people who don't visit those sites, there is little access to water.  We are also told about the lack of bathroom facilities for people not spending time at either of the noted sites. 

We are working regularly with two individuals that have experienced strokes. Both have one-sided weakness as well as speech deficits. One person has the support of friends to keep them safe -- 'safe' being a relative term when someone is without housing. The other person appears to prefer to be alone but also appears incredibly vulnerable with the challenged gait, inability to use one arm and limited speech. The second person answered affirmatively that contact had been made with local agencies to try and gain housing. Sadly, we worked with this person several years ago and were disheartened to see them back on the street.  We hope and pray that safe housing can be found. 

It is troubling to us that we see so many of the same people week after week, month after month and year after year.  We recall in previous years that there was a person from time to time that had scored housing and we celebrated with them. Quite honestly, it has been months since we've been told that someone has gained housing.  For those who desperately want a home to call their own, the lack of available housing and the length of time it takes to get a place has to be discouraging. Are any agencies or organizations designed to support this growing population long term?  At what point will we see the scales start to tip from charity to justice? We have heard people suggesting that going to jail is a better alternative than continuing to try and survive in their current state. For some, there is appeal to "3 hots and a cot" to avoid the weather and have a guaranteed place to lay their head. 

Pastor Mike asks "What are our friends who live in poverty supposed to do while waiting for society to change and help take up their cause?" The facts are, we live in one of the poorest counties in Wisconsin. A major motel where many of the poor and homeless frequent is about to shut down in July and we are quite sure a majority of those people will be heading downtown to join the others. When are we going to start listening to the voices of those that suffer and try to understand what their needs are and work with them to try and find solutions to this epidemic?  

The street ministry is supported by donations; we are grateful for the years of generosity that has been shown to us.  We are heading into a period of time when donations typically decrease.  Unfortunately, the needs of the people we serve do not change and we are in need of funding to continue our work.  


Checks can be sent to:


      P.O. Box 51

      Eau Claire, WI 54702

Electronic donations can be made via Paypal on our website as well as on our Facebook page:

This clearly is not an uplifting journal but it is important to report what we see and hear in order to be an accurate voice of those we serve.  Thank you for your continued support, we cannot continue without you.  Prayers for our homeless brothers and sisters are appreciated. 

- CVSM Staff

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