[Hpn] Wisconsin - Homeless shelter nears maximum occupancy

media@ccsi.com media@ccsi.com
Wed, 13 Jun 2001 22:31:03 -0500

Homeless shelter nears maximum occupancy
Facility asks Appleton for additional capacity
By Pete Bach
Post-Crescent staff writer

Appleton's homeless shelter is seeking city permission to increase its
maximum occupancy by nearly 50 percent after regularly hitting its current
capacity of 52 people.

Emergency Shelters of the Fox Valley Inc. passed the first step Monday in
boosting its capacity from 52 to 75, the maximum occupancy originally
envisioned for the two-story facility.

The approval of a planned unit development amendment from the Appleton Plan
Commission now heads to the full Common Council for consideration on July 5.

Debra Cronmiller, the shelter's executive director, said the greater
capacity mirrors the growing number of people finding their way to the
facility at 400 N. Division St.

She said no remodeling is planned. "It's a better utilization of the
building. When the building was originally envisioned and built its
capacity was 75," Cronmiller said.

The number of homeless people served went up from 784 in 1999 to 895 last
year, according to shelter figures.

The daily census is approaching 52 consistently and has topped 52
occasionally, she said.

In her annual report to the community, Cronmiller said single males were
the largest growth segment, with 345 staying at the shelter in 2000 and an
estimated 500 expected to seek shelter this year.

The shelter is also seeing a much greater influx of "intact families" with
two minimum wage earners, a trend she said is likely to worsen if the
economic slump doesn't turn around soon.

The city fire inspector, the city building inspector's office and the
shelter architect have given approval to housing up to 75 people at the
shelter, which opened just before Christmas in 1997.

The capacity will be increased by putting two bunkbeds in rooms with one
now, thus going from two to four people per room.

In addition, the largest bedroom spaces two for six people on the first
floor and one large "bunk room" for 14 people on the second floor will be
equipped to provide for the maximum capacity, according to the drawings.

The facility will have room for 41 people on the first floor and 34 on the
second floor.

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