Stepping Stones of Dunn County, Wisc., is building a new emergency shelter to help people struggling with homelessness in Menomonie and Dunn County, Wisc. The 20-bed shelter will operate 24 hours a day and offer assistance in finding permanent housing.
The organization seeks to foster a community that prevents hunger, homelessness, and isolation throughout Dunn County through their three programs — the Food Pantry, Stepping Stones Shelters and the Community Connections Program. Through these three programs, Stepping Stones supports more than 5,000 Dunn County residents annually.
Andersen Corporation is supporting Stepping Stones by donating over 25 windows to the project, helping keep the cost of building affordable. Andersen’s support reinforces the company’s commitment to supporting affordable housing access.
The number of people seeking emergency shelter in Dunn County is on the rise and exceeding the capacity of local facilities. Stepping Stones of Dunn County provided 6,300 nights of shelter to the homeless in 2020, 9,270 in 2021 and 10,959 shelter nights provided in 2022 — an increase of 40 percent from 2020 to 2023. With need steadily rising, the organization predicts 11,000 nights of shelter will be needed in 2024.
With Stepping Stones providing twice the number of shelter nights than typical prior to the pandemic, still, the waitlist is typically double what shelter capacity allows. Due to this need, Stepping Stones has also received grant funding and support from organizations like Andersen to increase capacity.
Andersen operates two facilities in the Menomonie area, a manufacturing facility that produces Andersen® A-Series windows and a consolidation center.
Corporate citizenship is one of Andersen’s core values and has been part of the company’s history since its founding 120 years ago.
“This winter, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of our Menomonie Consolidation Center and we are proud to have supported Stepping Stones through volunteerism, philanthropic grants and product donations since the consolidation center’s founding in 2003,” said Eliza Chlebeck, senior director of communications and community at Andersen. “Andersen’s investment in this new emergency shelter reinforces our dedication to supporting access to housing and basic needs in the communities in which our employees live and work.”
The new shelter is scheduled to open November 2023.