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The Cathedral Center is working to end homelessness in Milwaukee

Posted at 11:27 AM, Nov 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-05 12:29:11-05

MILWAUKEE -- For many single mothers living paycheck to paycheck in Milwaukee, losing a home can come with one unexpected expense or family emergency. But there's an organization working to change that.

The Cathedral Center is a hidden gem in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, providing emergency shelter to at least 32 women and eight families every night of the year.

"We are seeing more women with significant mental health needs," said The Cathedral Center's Executive Director, Donna Rongholt-Migan. "We are also seeing families who are larger coming here for help."

Rongholt-Migan is trying to change how our society views, and works with, the homeless.

"People don't choose it," she said. "They're not looking to get away with something. They're not happy. This is all they know. They're trying to find a way to know something different. When they come to an emergency shelter or sleep on a park bench, believe me, they'd rather be somewhere else. They'd rather have control of their life."

Regaining control begins with a safe place to sleep. Once someone enters the doors, the team at The Cathedral Center gets to work to try and meet that person's specific needs.

"I believe everyone's employable," said La Deidra Johnson, the Director of Cathedral Center's Women's Independence Program, which is unlike any other in the area.

Johnson left a job in corporate America to help homeless, unemployed women in Milwaukee get back on their feet.

The Women's Independence Program teaches computer skills, social skills, and interviewing skills to women in need. It also offers them business attire for job interviews.

The Cathedral Center has established partnerships with local companies like The Marcus Corporation. Those companies then hire many of the women, providing a steady income and fresh start.

"It allows the corporations to really give back to the community," Johnson said. "And for the women, it builds their confidence so they can better provide for their families. A job can lead to an apartment, a car, and stability. It's giving these women and their families more of a chance to live, not just exist in the world."

The Cathedral Center relies on donations for 60 percent of its revenue. This Thursday is one of the organization's biggest fundraisers:

Pathway Home - A Celebration of Ending Homelessness
Thursday November 8th 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. 
The Atrium of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist - 812 N Jackson Street, downtown Milwaukee.
Tickets can be bought at the door for $70
The evening includes:
~Hearty passed appetizers and desserts
~A selection of wines and soft drinks
~Raffle baskets, a wine pull and online silent auction
~Music by local entertainers
~An opportunity to visit with Milwaukee area business leaders, philanthropists, friends and family.