Guest House homeless shelter celebrates 30th anniversary

MILWAUKEE -- On any given night, around 2,000 people in the Greater Milwaukee area are homeless and searching for a warm place to spend the night. One shelter has been working to accommodate these folks, and Monday, they celebrated their 30th anniversary, and some special guests were on hand to celebrate.

The Guest House shelters about 86 men every night, and during the cold winter months, that number expands to just over 100.

Monday, staff at the Guest House had the help of the five Brewers Racing Sausages to put together cots for 15 more men who will be using the emergency overflow shelter. Officials at the Guest House say the need for shelter remains, even with the mild winter temperatures so far this winter. "We still continue to see people who are in need of shelters. The weather is staying pretty nice. We know people aren't out in the frigid cold, but the need is definitely still there," Cindy Krahenbuhl with the Guest House said.

In honor of the center's 30th anniversary, the Brewers Community Foundation donated $30,000 to the cause. "We focused on the Guest House because we know they have great outcomes. They really generate opportunities for individuals to come in that are homeless and leave with places to stay, supporting employment, addressing issues related to alcohol and drug abuse," Cecilia Gore with the Brewers Community Foundation said.

James Shauntee is one of the thousands of people the Guest House has helped serve. Shauntee says he was introduced to the Guest House about 12 years ago, when he was homeless and battling addiction. "This place saved my life. It helped me manage my life, my lifestyle and my choices," Shauntee said. Now, Shauntee is working at the shelter as a case manager, helping other men who are headed down the path to becoming homeless.

With the additional community support, Shauntee is hoping more people will be able to turn their lives around, just like he has. "If you want to make a change, the Guest House is a place to come," Krahenbuhl said.

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation also provided a grant that will help fund the Guest House's overflow shelter during the winter.