Shelter director: Washington County homelessness is growing

CREATED Nov. 29, 2011

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SLINGER - A woman who works with homeless families in Slinger says that problem is growing in Washington County. 

"It's not something you would ordinarily think about," said Kathy Christianson of Family Promise of Washington County.  "You think about the beautiful Kettle Moraine and families who are well taken care of."

She told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" of the growing problem of homelessness in a typically more affluent county.

"Unfortunately, in Washington County, much like the rest of the country, there are problems, and many families are just a paycheck away from becoming homeless."

Christianson explained that her group takes care of more than 20 families at their shelter, and all of them are from Washington County.

She also says that other homeless families are finding other options for temporary shelter.

"Often times they might be doubling up with other family members, because there are children involved.  Families are opening up their doors, so you might find two or three families in a building that isn't suited for families," explained Christianson.

"Families might be camping over the summertime, and now with it getting colder and the campsites closing, they might be looking for places to stay.  This summer, I dropped off backpacks for a family.  That was their residence, sleeping in a tent in a local campground."

According to Christianson, other families have to resort to sleeping in their cars.

"Officials don't like people sleeping in their cars. They make it very difficult, so they turn to us for their last resort."

Christianson further detailed that these families are typically not in the cycle of poverty.

"They're on the brink of homelessness.  They're not connected with the resources."