Salvation Army looks to help Wausau with growing homeless population

WAUSAU, Wis (WSAW) -- The Salvation Army in Wausau says their volunteers are eager to help the homeless population get back on their feet.

This comes a day after the Wausau Police Department said there is an increase in homeless people sleeping in downtown parking ramps, which is now sparking safety concerns from business owners nearby.

“I am not supposed by the numbers the police are reporting,” said Lieutenant Donna Thammavongsa with the Salvation Army. “In fact, people in that situation typically hide from police so law enforcement might not even have the most accurate numbers.”

The Salvation Amy is one of three non-profits in the city that has a shelter. However, they are the only one that’s open year round with limited requirements to stay.

“Our only requirement is that you are homeless. This means you have absolutely nowhere else to go,” added Thammavongsa.

Currently their homeless shelter can fit up to 20 men and six women. They do have a family room that could fit up to six.

“People would be surprised by the amount of people who are homeless,” explained Thammavongsa. “People who have friends that may crash at a friend’s house and go from house to house is also considered homeless.”

As of Tuesday, the Salvation Army Shelter has only 7 beds for men available. People are allowed to stay for up to 30 days but in some cases the days allowed could be extended. Check-in time to claim a bed starts at 4:00 p.m.