Bethel House, UW-W help combat homelessness

Tiereny Breitkreutz, Staff Reporter

Becoming homeless or facing homelessness is a scary reality for some people. It can feel like the world is against you and there is no other place to go. 

Bethel House in Whitewater is a transitional home for people facing homelessness. Families can stay up to one year in Bethel House.

Over time, many students from UW-Whitewater have left their mark on the home, including the Beta Alpha Psi – Epsilon Rho Chapter (BAP-ERC) which has raised money and made donations to Bethel House over the years.

In February 2019 BAP-ERC fundraised almost $10,000 for the house. Two students of BAP-ERC, Brianna Burks and Taylor Samsa, organized an auction.

“I was totally floored by the amount that they raised this year,” said Kristy Weinberg, executive director of Bethel House. “[BAP-ERC] have been with us for I don’t know how many years. They used to do walk-a-thons to help us raise money, then they did bowl-a-thons, and they did this auction and raised an extraordinary amount of money for us.”

Nicolle Muskevitsch a student at UW-Whitewater and donations coordinator for Bethel house helps to educate clients on money and how they are able to manage their finances when they get back on their feet.

“We do a lot of financial literacy and bring in people to explain budgets and debts. We also do relationship advice like identifying toxic relationships and building healthy ones,” Muskevitsch said. “We talk to them and help identify the biggest problems and walk them through on how to improve.”

But it doesn’t stop with immediate assistance. Bethel House collects throughout the year for each person, and the money is set up as a saving account, so when they leave Bethel House they have enough money to pay expenses and get a start in the right direction.

“Some money that was donated was set aside for emergency motel funds. A couple weeks ago during the polar vortex we were able to set up families that had no place to go or couldn’t go far. The money that was donated saved many lives,” Weinberg says.

Bethel House has volunteer opportunities that greatly impact the Whitewater area.

“We are always looking for volunteers to help spruce up our houses here in Whitewater,” Muskevitsch said. “I started off as a volunteer and I realized what a great organization this was. I am very grateful and blessed to work for such a great organization and I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”