Janesville40.4°

Janesville shelter proves timely for homeless man

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Gazette Staff
December 24, 2007
— A new shelter for homeless men is coming none too soon for a local man who lost his lodging just before Christmas.

The 39-year-old came to the Janesville Police Department on Saturday.


He told an officer that he had been staying with a friend in Janesville, but the friend was expecting relatives for the holidays, and there was no longer room for him.


He had been laid off from a local manufacturer but was hopeful of finding work soon, he said.


He told the officer he had not eaten in more than a day.


Itís a typical tale, the kind the police encounter year íround, said police Lt. Keith Lawver.


Sometimes, the man is passing through, and the police give him a voucher for a bus ticket. Sometimes, itís a family that has run out of gas, and police provide a voucher for fuel.


Sometimes, itís someone who hasnít eaten or doesnít have a place to stay, and police provide vouchers for food and lodging, which was what happened in this case.


The Salvation Armyóso conspicuous this season with its bell-ringers and red kettlesóprovides the vouchers, Lawver said.


The man said he intended to go to the new homeless shelter tonight, so police issued him a voucher for a two-night stay, as well as a voucher for a meal at a restaurant.


Until now, Janesville hasnít had a shelter for single homeless men, although the Salvation Army has helped with its motel vouchers. Members of a Rock County task force on homelessness estimate there are 15 to 30 homeless men in Janesville.


A group of churches recently agreed to house homeless men from 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. daily, November through April, on a rotating basis.


St. John Vianney Church will be the first to take in the homeless, starting tonight.


TO HELP

Volunteers are needed to keep the churchesí homeless shelter running. If you want to help or contribute, call Paul Benish at (608) 751-7848.


TO GET HELP

Show up at St. John Vianney Church, 1245 Clark St., Janesville. Check-in is 7-10 p.m. at the church. A police escort is required after 10 p.m.



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