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Search didn't turn up any homeless, but it doesn't mean they aren't here

Several women volunteered to participate in last week’s effort to count and contact homeless people in Hudson. From left are Maureen Wegleitner, Hudson attorney and board member of Operation HELP and the Hudson Community Foundation, Alyson Maitrejean, Americorps program director for Youth Action Hudson, Hudson Police Office Kate Potter who accompanied the volunteers, Yvonne Larson, director of Youth Action Hudson and Duana Bremer of the Salvation Army. (Hudson Star-Observer photos by Meg Heaton)1 / 3
The space under the Seventh Street bridge in Hudson has been used occasionally by homeless people as a place to shelter according to Hudson police. 2 / 3
Duana Bremer of the Salvation Army brought some ready to eat meals and water for anyone she and other volunteers came across during last week’s count. If anyone had been encountered, Bremer would have offered to find shelter for them and offered them food and water if they wanted it.3 / 3

While last week’s effort to count the homeless in Hudson did not lead to any contacts, that doesn’t mean there aren’t those without shelter in the community.

It is Duana Bremer’s business to know about homelessness all across St. Croix County as the head of the Salvation Army here and the director of Grace Place in Somerset and another shelter in Balsam Lake.

She told the volunteers who turned out last Wednesday night to search for anyone homeless in Hudson that there are currently 26 people including families at Grace Place. That’s over capacity. She added that the shelter has operated at or above capacity for most of the last year. The shelter will move to a larger facility with room for 36 in New Richmond later this year.

Hudson Police Officer Kate Potter accompanied Bremer and several other volunteers to look for the homeless in Hudson at spots the HPD says they have encountered people who need assistance. Those spots included the end of the dike road off Lakefront Park, the area under the Seventh Street bridge, the park and ride, and some parking lots around 24-hour businesses.

The count in Hudson was part of a county-wide effort to identify and reach out to the homeless. The volunteers were prepared to give anyone they met a ready-to-eat meal and water and offer shelter or information about assistance that is available to them. The volunteers also had a series of questions to ask if the person was willing or a series of observations that could be recorded to provide additional information.

The Salvation Army is working with the Balance of State Continuum, an organization of homeless service providers spread across the state. Each of the local coalitions in Wisconsin engage in a counting of the homeless who are either sheltered in a facility or unsheltered and living on the streets.

The Point in Time count simultaneously occurs in each county on the last Wednesday of January, and the last Wednesday of July. Volunteers in each area walk the streets of Wisconsin communities to determine how many individuals are going unsheltered.

For more information on how the Salvation Army is working toward combating homelessness in St. Croix County, go to or like St. Croix County Salvation Army on Facebook. You can also call (715) 247-2944. To learn more about the Balance of State Continuum visit

Meg Heaton
Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
(715) 808-8604