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A warm community rallies for Wausau’s winter point-in-time count

WAUSAU (WAOW)— The Housing & Homelessness Coalition, an initiative of the United Way of Marathon County, conducted its biannual Point-in-Time Count throughout the city Wednesday.

A group of over 20 volunteers visited known locations, likely to have homeless community members staying.

Local shelters provided safe housing to 528 adults and 105 children. In Marathon County, 10 percent of households live in poverty, according to a 2017 coalition year-end report.

“Many don’t think homelessness is an issue,” said Pam Anderson, Co-Chair of the Housing & Homelessness Coalition.

The problems with homelessness only get worse with families and individuals living paycheck to paycheck.

“So many people, even in Marathon County, living paycheck to paycheck that they may be one paycheck away from losing their apartment, or one paycheck away from not being able to feed their children,” said Anderson.

The Point-in-Time Count is an opportunity to show the homeless community the Wausau community is here to help.

“Let them know that people do care, because it is a very caring, very compassionate community,” said Wausau Mayor Robert Mielke.

Mayor Mielke has attended the count for 5 years, seeing it as an opportunity to provide the little things to those who need it most.

“Little things, just encouragement. Talking to them,” said Mielke.

The biannual Point-in-Time Count has volunteers of all ages, seeing the homelessness problem as one spanning generations.

“Because they, too, see this as an eye-opener and awareness-building opportunity,” said Anderson.

The work being done hits Anderson close to her heart, because, at one time, her parents were also homeless and instilled the beliefs of finding the best in everyone.

“And I’m thinking about them too today, and just thanking them,” said Anderson.

Chase McNamara

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