Donations down for Waukesha homeless shelter, forced to open late

WAUKESHA -- The Hebron House in Waukesha has provided shelter for the homeless for 30 years. This year, officials struggled to open the shelter's doors, as donations were down, and the shelter was forced to open a month later than normal.

The Hebron House men's overflow shelter is critical for those without homes during the cold winter months in Wisconsin. The shelter served over 3,000 people last year.

"Here, they have a warm place to go. They have food we can provide for them, shower, clothing," Hebron House coordinator Elliot Hernandez said.

Brian Oiler said he knows what it's like to live outside during the winter. Oiler has stayed at the Hebron House shelter for the past three winters. He ended up at the shelter after a bad breakup, and a job loss.

Now, with the help of the Hebron House, Oiler is trying to rebuild his life.

"I like having this opportunity here to try to get back on my feet. Get a job and see if I can do something for myself," Oiler said.

Hebron House officials say this year, opening the doors was not easy. Donations were down, forcing the shelter to open a month late.

"Funding we do get, it's critical for the guys out there, because I know we have lost guys before due to the cold and frostbite," Hernandez said.

The shelter relies on donations, like those from the Muskego Food Pantry. David Anderson is a food pantry volunteer and delivers donations to the shelter.

"I donate this stuff at least once or twice a week, so these guys have something they can eat at night before they go to bed," Anderson said.

It is through the kindness of others that these men are able to make it through Wisconsin's harsh winters.

"Thank God we have something like this for Waukesha," Oiler said.

CLICK HERE for additional information on the Hebron House shelter in Waukesha.