It is with a mixture of great joy and a bit of sorrow that we announce that the HOST shelter will be permanently closing as of March 31, 2017. Ongoing changes at HALO will allow more people to be eligible for shelter there. As a result, we believe that we have fulfilled the role that the community needed us to fill. Now it is in the best interest of our guests to encourage them to move to the new HALO where there are more and better resources to help them as they transition to the next phase of their lives. We are excited and hopeful as we look to the future, confident that our community will continue to find ways to assure shelter for all.
This is a bittersweet moment for us. In HOST we set out to do a new thing: to create a shelter for all those temporarily experiencing homelessness where they could be welcome for who they are. We envisioned a place of comfort and radical hospitality, where everyone was welcome no matter their circumstances, where human dignity was valued, and where we could encourage and support one another in mutual respect. We will always hold the friends we made through HOST – guests, staff, and volunteers – in a special place in our hearts.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made HOST possible: our shelter manager, Yusuf Buckley, our amazing and compassionate staff, and our dedicated and caring volunteers; County Executive Jonathan Delagrave, who believed in our vision enough to totally and completely throw his heartfelt and continued support behind us, to the County Board who blessed us with the money to secure a site, and to MT Boyle for her tireless efforts as we pulled details together; Mayor John Dickert for his consistent strong support and positive encouragement throughout, and his wonderful staff who found ways to help things along; Chief Art Howell, the Racine Police Department and our members of law enforcement who have been so incredibly supportive, responsive and and respectful of our guests and our mission; the United Way for being wonderful neighbors to a sometimes challenging population; SC Johnson for the incredible gift of $25,000, and ALL of our donors who made sure that we had what we needed to pay our staff, keep our guests safe and fed, and provide the necessities to keep the doors open; the Hospitality Center for providing us with encouragement, mats, pillows, linens, food, and warm clothing to get us started; Scott Metzel and the HOPES Center Team, who brought us folks who needed us, helped us with case management, and who advised us during our growing pains; Dr. Mike Boticki and NAMI for their warmth, encouragement, and support; the community leaders, faith communities of Racine, and the Racine Interfaith Coalition for everything they have done to help us get started and for their assistance along the way; the residents of the Domanik Drive/Prospect Heights neighborhoods; Ron Thomas and all the good people of the Continuum of Care, the best group of caring and big-hearted service providers a community could ever have. And the list could go on and on.
Mostly we thank all of you, our supportive community. You have all rallied around us from the beginning and we cannot thank you enough for believing in us and in our guests. Because of all of you no one died from the cold on the streets of Racine this winter – and that is the best news of all.
Finally, we are grateful to Gai Lorenzen for all of her behind-the-scenes work in getting HOST up and off the ground and for being one of our strongest and most encouraging supporters in the bad times and the good. The HOST shelter would not exist without her, nor, in fact, would Segue Racine, and for that we owe Gai a huge debt of gratitude. She pulled together a very diverse group of people determined to help those who were homeless and at risk of being homeless, and helped us focus our energy in the right direction at the right time. And ultimately it was because of her decision to accept a position as interim Executive Director of HALO that we felt comfortable making the decision to close our doors. We know that under her guidance and leadership HALO will take good care of these men, women, and children that have become our beloved family over the last five months.
Segue Racine is not going away. We still have a lot more work to do. We will continue helping, advocating for, and fighting on behalf of all who are homeless, as well as those who are at risk of homelessness. We will work with and support HALO as they care for our people, and we will continue to look for new and creative ways to reach out a hand to everyone in our community who needs to be fed, sheltered, and loved.
With our deepest thanks and blessings,
The Board of Segue Racine, Inc.
Rev. Warren Williams, President
Rev. Holly Anderle, Vice President
Pat Liesch, Treasurer
Joannie Williams, Secretary
Rev. Melvin Hargrove
Dixie van Remmen