Shelters prepare to house homeless as temperatures drop

WAUKESHA (WITI) -- With temperatures dipping into the single digits, communities are preparing to shelter the homeless from the bitter cold. Those who work with the area's homeless say dwindling funds and rising numbers of people needing help are causing a crunch.

Waukesha's Hebron House has 31 beds at one shelter, seven in a second house and 21 in a third, however the shelter system is full with a waiting list of 33 families.

"We are still not meeting the needs of the community. We still have people we're turning away every day. Sometimes we have to open up our couches and our floors," said Erika Trawitzki of Hebron House.

Trawitzki says many of those who need food and shelter are children -- several with parents who work.

"I don't make enough money at my jobs. I have two jobs, I have a four-year-old I have to look out for and I don't have a family I can turn to," said Heather, who relies on Hebron House.

Heather says her dream is to have her own apartment, but she's having trouble saving enough money for rent and a security deposit. Until then, Hebron House is helping her and her daughter.

"If it were just me, I wouldn't want so much, but it's not just for me. It's my baby," said Heather.

Hebron House says although the upturn in the economy hasn't been strong enough to turn enough lives around they remain hopeful.

"It's hard," said Trawitzki. "These people are hitting the ground every day, looking for the jobs and there are some jobs out there, definitely, but there's few for how many people are in need."

Hebron House expects to be busy this weekend. The organization recently got approval to keep an overflow shelter open at a former school.