Proposed Future Franciscan Community Resource Center

Future Location of the Franciscan Community Resource Center – 508 5th Ave. South. Current Proposal Withdrawn

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of La Crosse recently purchased the building located at 508 5th Ave. South from Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Medical Center, Inc. Our plans for creating a resource center at this location have been withdrawn due to objection from the neighborhood.

This new location would have allowed us to adjust our current downtown location. We had hoped to free up space currently being used by other programs at our Third Street office/warming center location. Our plan was to move our St. Lawrence Community Service Staff to this new location. The facility would have been open Monday – Friday, from 9 am – 4:00 pm offering the following services:

  • Catholic Charities Staff would have available to educate about local resources and offer assistance with rent, utilities, medical, and housing needs. They assist families and individuals in evaluating income and expenses while helping them determine a budget to obtain a healthier financial situation.
  • Our Men’s Clothing Closet would have been moved to this new location, providing men’s wear to those who need it. Whether it was dress clothes for an interview or to wear to a funeral or steel-toed shoes to wear to work, if we have it in our clothing closet, it is free to whoever needs it. We were excited about the possibility of being right down the street from the Women’s Clothes Closet located at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.
  • Our Food Pantry would have been moved. Often, we do not have finances to offer direct aid for what the community member is requesting, but we are always able to make sure those who need help will have food on their table. No one should ever go hungry. If we have it, we give it!
  • It would have been a place for community members to come in to do their laundry, take a shower if needed, meet with a caseworker, and learn about other available resources.
  • we still hope to coordinate services with other non-profits, churches, corporations, and government agencies, thus avoiding duplication. We had genuinely hoped to make this a center where anyone in need had a place to go to seek information and direction on how to get the services they need for themselves and their families. Anyone – Not just those experiencing homelessness.
  • It had been proposed that it could have also filled a need for overflow in extreme cases such as we are experiencing during this pandemic.

This new location at 508 S. 5th Ave. was NOT intended to take the place of the current Warming Center. It would allow Catholic Charities to move the men’s clothes closet, food pantry, and conference room currently used by staff to provide financial and housing counseling. It would have allowed us to reorganize our warming center space so we can continue to provide a safe, healthy, socially distanced space for the guests, volunteers, and staff. Without this rezoning, Catholic Charities Warming Center will not be able to reorganize and the city will see a drastic decrease in the number of individuals Catholic Charities is able to provide service to at our current 3rd street location. We do not have another location in which to move our Warming Center.

We will continue to provide service through our downtown location through our Immigration Program, St. Lawrence Housing and Charitable Outreach Program, Food Pantry/Men’s Clothing Closet, and Rep Payee Program. Our offices are open Monday – Thursday, 9 am – 4 pm, and Friday by appointment. Charitable Outreach is open for walk-ins on Mondays from 9 am – 4 pm.

The La Crosse Warming Center will open its doors on November 1st. Currently we hope to offer nightly service for up to 15 adult men or women. We are reassessing our space to see if we can squeeze a couple more in, but with safe distance and COVID recommendations by the county we are not sure if that will be possible. The center will continue to offer a warm place to sleep, take a shower, do laundry, and get something to eat.