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Sheboygan to Open New Day Center for Homeless Individuals and Those at Risk of Homelessness

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Sheboygan is set to open a new Day Center for individuals experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness. The center, which is expected to open in March pending permit approval, will be operated by Sheboygan Area Pay It Forward, Inc. and located at 933 Michigan Ave. The Day Center will be an inclusive space designed to offer individuals a safe and welcoming environment to work on habit change, such as setting goals and adopting a positive outlook.

One of the core goals of the Day Center is to offer support to those who are struggling with securing stable housing or finding employment. The center will provide a range of services to support job searches, interview skills, and building resumes. This support is aimed at individuals who may be struggling to access similar services through larger organizations that have long waiting lists.

To ensure accessibility, the center will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily from November 1 to April 30 to offset the warming center hours, and then from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily during the summer, except for Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Scott and Kathleen LaBonte, the founders of Pay It Forward, have been working on establishing the charitable organization and securing 501(c)(3) status. The organization has previously provided Christmas gifts and family meals, as well as distributed over 700 bags of hats, scarves, and mittens to those in need. Kathleen highlighted the importance of the Day Center, saying, “It goes hand in hand with everything else that we work on in our group to help fill emergency needs.”

Pay It Forward is committed to supporting individuals in need quickly, without long waiting lists. Scott stated that larger established organizations may provide support but may have waiting lists that leave people without furniture and cooking supplies even if they can find housing. “And that’s where we come in trying to make sure that they are set up and they have a place to call home,” Scott added.

The LaBonte’s believe that individuals experiencing homelessness may not be supported as they should be. Scott noted that individuals are often told what they are doing wrong, but no one is giving them the tools they need to change. Pay It Forward aims to guide individuals in need, helping them to work on one thing at a time and breaking the cycle. The organization’s mindset is to focus on the present and not to worry about the end goal, with Scott emphasizing that “Right now, we’re going to do this, and we’ll work our way to that.”

Overall, the opening of the Day Center in Sheboygan is a positive step in supporting individuals experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness. The services offered will help to break the cycle and support individuals in their efforts to secure stable housing and employment, making a significant difference to their lives.

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