1. I’m homeless and need a shelter. There is no shelter in Wood County. The nearest shelter is Hope Center, a Salvation Army shelter in Stevens Point. If accepted there, a cab ride will be given free of charge through HHGM from Wisconsin Rapids. If you are in the northern portion of the county, Wausau may be a better choice for you. The Family Center is a domestic violence and sexual abuse shelter for women, their children, and men. Contact them directly, or through law enforcement if you are in danger.
- I want to stay in Rapids, so prefer a motel voucher. Though there are motel vouchers from various agencies, as a rule they are given out sparsely and for emergency situations. Law enforcement has the ability to put someone in a motel for a crisis situation for one night. An example of this may be a late discharge from jail and the need to check in with the probation officer the next morning.
- What about gas vouchers? The transportation programs disappeared years ago when money began to tighten up. Today there are other programs available. If you need a ride to a medical appointment, in all likelihood your best bet is MTM (Medical Transport Management). If you are looking for gas to get to work, the FSET (Food Share Employment Training) program offers help until that first paycheck comes in.
- I’m facing an eviction. First, know your rights. Sometimes landlords use scare tactics to protect their own interests. You can learn about your rights in Wisconsin through the Tenant Resource Center. Be aware of the fact that an eviction in the South Wood County area will drastically affect your ability to find a landlord to rent to you in the future. You may also be eligible for emergency assistance if you currently have an eviction notice. NCCAP or Forward Services are good resources for this. These resources are available countywide.
- I am a criminal. Being on probation or parole, or being incarcerated are not barriers to assistance. Just because you are on probation does not mean your agent will not allow you to go to another county for shelter. There are other programs such as TLPs when coming out of prison. If in Drug Court, a different set of options becomes available. The biggest barrier is not your past, but lack of income. Going through temp agencies is often the best way for someone with a criminal background to find employment to begin with. Be honest up front though. HHGM has had the best success when working with a client and their P.O.
- Do I have to wait until I’m out of jail/prison? HHGM has helped people while incarcerated. In Wood County, we often go to the jail for an initial meeting so the person has an exit plan in place upon release. When in prison, we will work with DOC social workers and/or local agents. Again, a plan before release works best.
- I have a voucher or a job, but can’t find a place to rent. No one can force a landlord to rent to anyone. If your past is one that the landlord deems risky, they have the right to say no. Sometimes landlords will take a chance on someone who is recommended to them through HHGM, NCCAP, the Family Center, etc. Asking for help is not a bad thing, and may help you out. If you do not have income, or if you have evictions, know it will be difficult. A voucher from the Housing Authority does not guarantee housing. You still have to find your own place to live. (There are some programs that are exceptions to this.)
- I am in recovery and don’t know what to do. HHGM works with people in recovery all the time. There are several sober living facilities in the Wisconsin Rapids area, and we work with them closely. Treatment is offered through Wood County Human Services and private counseling offices. 2-1-1 is a great resource to get specific information on AA/NA meetings.
- What does it mean that HHGM is Christ-centered? HHGM is a Christian organization. We believe in a holistic approach when dealing with people, and offer spiritual connections for people who are looking for that. We are not tied to one denomination, and will try to find someone the best connection based on their past and current preferences. Involvement in a church is not a requirement to receiving assistance. Past experience shows us that people who connect with a local church, do better, mostly because they are able to build a solid, caring base of support around themselves. Changing things in our lives is a long process, and though HHGM works with clients for 4-8 months on average, a long-term support base is most effective. When people go to or call churches, they will very often refer people to HHGM. As the economy has worsened, churches also have fewer funds, and many support our efforts, pooling their resources for the good of the community.
- What happens when I call the HHGM office? You will go through an assessment over the phone. If appropriate an appointment might be set up later. In almost all cases, we offer options for the caller to consider. If the caller only wants what they are calling for, there is a good chance they will not be able to be helped. If they want to explore the options, the next step is a plan of action and HHGM helping coordinate services with other agencies. We specialize in working with clients until they are comfortably independent and self-sufficient again, which can be a lengthy process.