A collaborative project between nonprofit agencies in Western Wisconsin that establishes a first of a kind walk-in resource center offering housing navigation, homeless prevention, mental/AODA support, healthcare, and violence prevention and support in one location.
The Partners and Their Vision
In 2019-20, the Coulee Collaborative to End Homelessness (CCEH) drafted a strategic plan to guide our community to ‘homelessness functional zero’. Several components were necessary to reach this milestone, including a one-stop-shop social service center, mental and addiction support outreach, and streamlined collaboration between housing providers. A coalition of partners – Catholic Charities, Couleecap, Independent Living Resources, New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Services, Salvation Army, and YWCA La Crosse - came together to execute this vision through a community housing and resource center.
The REACH Services and Resource Center is the first of its kind in Western Wisconsin. Now established, the REACH Center will continue to expand to include a variety of nonprofit service providers to meet the needs of the diverse population in our region. The REACH Center offers wrap around support on a walk-in basis, in a culturally sensitive manner, and by a team with expertise in a wide variety of fields. Moreover, as agencies are co-located, the center provides opportunities for agencies to reduce overhead costs so limited resources can be reinvested into programming, increasing the community’s capacity to serve more people in need.
Provide a centralized “hub” for those who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or in other need of nonprofit services in getting connected to services needed to start down the path of stable housing and personal goal achievement. By offering services in a centralized location, participants can access several agencies at once.
Support the physical and conceptual collaboration of social service organizations’ emergency services to the greatest extent possible to produce better outcomes for persons experiencing economic or housing insecurity. This center allows for weekly case conferencing between agencies to better identify plans for outreach and engagement for people identified as homeless or facing economic insecurity.
Create an accessible community center that allows any community member to simply enter and become immediately connected to shelter and housing, mental health and long-term case management services, community health programming, addiction treatment, and landlord liaison or housing placement services.
Develop a solutions-based model in partnership with program participants, residents, city officials and emergency responders, healthcare professionals, and social service providers that serves as a best practice within the region and state. Create a model that can be learned from and replicated in other communities.
Build service capacity and strengthen the nonprofit network through a cooperative space and operational model which may help organizations of all sizes realize cost savings and efficiencies.
The Reach Center Serves the Entire Community – Join Us!
All collaborative partners have an on-site presence with staff and volunteers. The space offers private offices for accessing confidential services and infrastructure necessary for meeting health and hygiene needs of program participants. The space also offers conference spaces for larger program offerings and community meetings.
Community groups or individuals may offer services in the building, either on a permanent or temporary basis, to aid our neighbors who utilize the building. Services may include legal assistance for tenants facing eviction, financial counseling classes, peer support services for people in addiction recovery, wellness courses, etc.
While the REACH Center was initially designed to help people experiencing housing insecurity, it has quickly expanded to other areas connected to housing insecurity. We invite other services and partners into the space to join the collaborative effort to address the collective community need.