Members of Community Corner Clubhouse protest closing of program

North Central Health Care says they are closing the facility because of budget concerns
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Members of the Community Corner Clubhouse protested outside of North Central Health Care on Thursday. The members are asking for support for the clubhouse program that is set to close.

The Community Corner Clubhouse has been a resource for people in the Greater Wausau Area for more than two decades for those who struggle with mental health issues and substance abuse.

“I don’t think I’d be here today without clubhouse,” said Kelly Kaufman, a member of the Community Corner Clubhouse.

Kaufman has been a member of North Central Health Care’s Community Corner Clubhouse for 18 years.

“I would get the highest level of medical treatment, like going inpatient and be released into the community with no support,” said Kaufman.

Kaufman was referred to NCHC’s Community Corner Clubhouse where she was provided with the resources she needed. Resources like employment, housing, and life skills are just a few of the things the program offered.

“I don’t want to go backward. I want to continue going forwards. And without clubhouse I don’t know if that would be possible,” said Kaufman.

According to NCHC, a lack of funding is forcing the clubhouse to close later this year.

“As North Central looks forward to our budget for next year, we are having to look very carefully at all of our programs. And in some cases, we’re hoping to consolidate or merge some programs with other programs to avoid duplication and save funds,” said Mort McBain, the interim director for North Central Health Care.

Thursday, strong emotions were pouring in from the members protesting. They are hoping to get the ruling overruled.

“I’m sad, frustrated, and angry,” said Sarah Davies, a 20-year member of the Community Corner Clubhouse.

Many members said they don’t have any backup resources to help navigate life.

“It’s a place that’s needed. The clubhouse has been around for 26 years and it’s been working. I don’t see why to get rid of it now,” said Kaufman.

The Clubhouse has been partially funded by Marathon County tax levy during its 26 years of operation but is not a mandated program under State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services regulations.

Although the Community Corner Clubhouse is shutting down, North Central Health Care said they’re hoping to preserve some of the programs. NCHC is also considering repurposing the facility.