Couleecap: “There Is No Place Like Home”: Child Homelessness in Wisconsin

The words, “There is no place like home” from the Wizard of Oz, have never been truer than for a child who is homeless. Homeless youth, sometimes referred to as “unaccompanied” youth, are individuals under the age of 18 who lack parental, foster, or institutional care.   Here are some of the facts:

  • Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth runaway and/or are homeless in a year.
  • 5% to 7% of American youth become homeless in any given year.
  • Youth ages 12 to 17 are more at risk of homelessness than adults.
  • Homeless youth are evenly male-female, although females are more likely to seek help through shelters and hotlines.
  • Between 6 and 22% of homeless girls are estimated to be pregnant.
  • 46% of runaway and homeless youth reported being physically abused; 38% reported being emotionally abused; 1.7% reported being forced into unwanted sexual activity by a family or household member.
  • 75% of homeless or runaway youth have dropped out or will drop out of school.
  • Between 20% and 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT.

Please watch the following (under two minute) YouTube video for more information about child homelessness in Wisconsin.

The Passing Of a Community Action Pioneer Rosalie Tryon Barber (November 13, 1927 – March 7, 2015)

On March 7, 2015, Rosalie Tryon Barber, founder and first Executive Director of ADVOCAP, Inc., passed away peacefully in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Rosalie

In 1964, then President Lyndon Johnson and Congress had declared the beginning of the War on Poverty by creating the Office of Economic Opportunity, headed by the late Sargent Shriver.

Many miles away in 1965 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, an energetic and dedicated Rosalie Tryon heard about the War on Poverty and the local agencies that would fight poverty on the local level. With her trade-mark “can do” attitude and boundless enthusiasm, she set about creating the “Fond du Lac Area Economic Opportunity Community, Inc” that would later be renamed  ADVOCAP, Inc. Continue reading

Senior Fruit & Vegetable Voucher Program: Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency’s Local Approach to Increase Access for Low-Income Seniors

RKCAA Picture for Blog 2Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency (RKCAA) is involved in several community food security efforts. As the provider of Women, Infants and Children (WIC) services for Kenosha County, RKCAA was looking at solutions to increase the redemption rates for the WIC Farmer Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks that WIC families receive every season. In 2010, RKCAA established an onsite farm stand with Green Acres Farms which enabled clients to have the option of redeeming their FMNP checks when they came to the office to pick up their checks and attend nutrition activities.

Knowing that senior hunger is a problem in Kenosha and wanting to find a way to increase opportunities for seniors to access fresh produce, RKCAA explored possible solutions. Kenosha County is not a recipient of the federal Senior Farmer Market Nutrition Program, and there are no funds to expand the program to our community.   Additionally, there are no farmer markets in Kenosha County that accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Therefore, in 2013 RKCAA wrote a grant and received funding to pilot a project where 55 seniors would receive $20 in of vouchers to redeem at our on-site farm stand. Continue reading

It Takes a Community to House the Homeless

54842417E 54842422EEvery night at 7 pm, a line of men and women carrying duffel bags and backpacks slowly moves forward as the doors are opened at a congregate homeless shelter in downtown Eau Claire. Many of these homeless individuals have been in line for well over an hour; earlier they took shelter at the public library, restaurants or social service businesses nearby.

This shelter, like many others in Wisconsin, provides the traditional “two hots and a cot” to thousands of people each year. An evening meal, a night of shelter and breakfast are provided and then everyone is back out on the streets during the day. While these services are desperately needed and definitely appreciated, it has become evident that traditional homeless shelters alone cannot solve the problem of homelessness. Continue reading

The Widow’s Mite & the Tri-Partite Board


The founders and framers of Community Action back in the 1960s were keenly astute and perceptive, as proven by their having established a successful institutional framework that has survived nationally – and in Wisconsin – for 50 years.

One of their more brilliant ideas was that Community Action Agencies (CAAs) establish and require a tri-partite governing Boards of Directors; one-third shall be elected public officials; at least one-third shall represent poor persons, and the remaining members shall represent specific groups of areas within the community.  Continue reading

Community Action, Inc. Changes the Face of Homelessness in Walworth County

The Delavan-Darien School District reports sixty-nine percent of its students receive free or reduced lunch, a number second only to Milwaukee Public Schools in a review of poverty in Wisconsin’s schools. The manager of Twin Oaks Shelter for the Homeless, located in the Town of Darien, sees this statistic as part of a larger trend of serving the working poor.

“Last year 22% of the homeless people who entered Twin Oaks already had employment and this year 29% entered with employment in place,” says manager Renae Mitchell. “In some cases people may even be working more than one job but their income still is not enough to meet obligations like child support, living expenses and rent.”

Living in poverty profoundly affects these families. Continue reading

Northwest CSA Takes on a New Challenge

Community Action Agencies know starting a program from scratch is never easy; taking over a program previously run by another agency is even more challenging.

This summer, Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency, Inc. (NWCSA) acquired the former Superior-Douglas County Senior Citizen Center. Now known as the Senior Center, this program is in its fledgling stage.  Continue reading

Oconto Falls High School Tech-Ed Class (and NEWCAP) At It Again

Blog Posts-NEWCAP-Picture-November 2014

The Oconto Falls High School’s Tech-Ed Class worked hard the month of August to get a good start on a second duplex built for elderly/handicapped area people. The Community Housing Project began in 2002 when a donated lot on Fifth Street in Oconto was developed into the very first fully accessible, universally designed duplex.  It was such a great project, addressing an important community need, that it was decided to continue to develop safe and affordable housing for handicapped individuals and the elderly.

Continue reading

North Central CAP Commemorates 50 Years of Community Action

Community Action is commemorating 50 years of existence in 2014. In 1964 our nation declared an “unconditional war on poverty.” In President Johnson’s first State of the Union address on January 8, 1964 he brought up the concept of a war on poverty:

“Unfortunately, many Americans live on the outskirts of hope-some because of their poverty, and some because of their color, and all too many because of both. Our task is to help replace their despair with opportunity. This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join me in that effort. It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until the war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it. Poverty is a national problem, requiring improved national organization and support. But this attack, to be effective, must be organized at the State and the local level and must be supported and directed by State and local efforts.”   Continue reading

Lakeshore CAP Expands Emergency Housing Services in Sheboygan

Blog Posts-Lakeshore CAP-May 2014

Lakeshore CAP Emergency Housing Personnel

On May 4th, Lakeshore CAP began serving as the consolidated intake agency for the Sheboygan County Housing Coalition. Known as the Sheboygan Housing Assistance Center, or SHAC, this function had previously been part of the Salvation Army of Sheboygan County’s operation. In the fall of 2013 the Salvation Army advised members of the coalition that they would be discontinuing operation of SHAC by June of 2014. The coalition put forth an RFP that was successfully answered by Lakeshore CAP. Continue reading