Homeless shelter helps men in need

The Haven is the only homeless shelter in the county for men
The Haven is the only homeless shelter in the county for men

MANITOWOC - A Manitowoc men's homeless shelter has opened its doors.

It's a project that was three years in the making.

Keishon Winters hasn't had a place to call home for the past few months. Thanks to The Haven in Manitowoc, that's all about to change.

"I was really excited. I really love the name The Haven. It's really spiritual; it's a blessing within itself," said Winters.

The shelter estimates around 125 men in Manitowoc County are homeless.

"It's evident that single men need a place to stay," said Michael Etheridge, associate director for The Haven.

The Haven is the only homeless shelter in the county for men.

"There was a need for it and now that it's come to fruition, we are able to establish this wonderful initiative," Etheridge said.

Many of the items, like furniture in the community room, have been donated by the community.

The shelter will help eight men this year with the hopes of expanding in the future.

Etheridge says the shelter isn't just a place for men to stay. The goal is to make each guest self-sufficient. Laptops are available so the men can look for jobs on a daily basis.

"We're going to give them housing lists. We're going to give them food referral resources and we're going to provide bus tokens. We're going to offer everything in the community possible for them to succeed and it's up to them to do the footwork," Etheridge said.

Even though Winters has only been at the shelter for a day, he says he already has a job with a cleaning company.

"I spoke to the lady yesterday and they're going to work me in on a schedule," Winters said.

If the men find a job and work during their 90 day stay, 80 percent of their income will go into a savings account to help them pay rent once they're on their own.

The Haven did face some opposition when it was first proposed, because of its location.

However, shelter officials say they worked with the community during that process.