Beginning in the early 2000s, many residents of Darien, a small town in Walworth county, found themselves in an increasingly difficult economic situation. Rising housing costs and market crashes made homeownership difficult, slipping between the fingers of residents who could previously afford it. Between the years of 2000 and 2011, Darien foreclosures increased by 385%, while the total amount of evictions rose by 53%, causing unprecedented displacement amongst the small community. The needs of those displaced varied widely; meeting them all seemed like an impossible task.
The Twin Oaks Shelter of Walworth County, however, was ready to meet the challenge. Accepting those afflicted by homelessness, domestic abuse, chronic mental illness, addiction, and the handicapped, Twin Oaks sought to provide transitional housing that would get the residents of Darien back on their feet. As its list of residents grew longer, and more accommodations became necessary, Twin Oaks realized that it needed more support in terms of resources.
When Community Action, Inc. of Rock & Walworth Counties, owner of the Twin Oaks, applied for the WHEDA Foundation Housing Grant Program, they soon found the relief for which they were looking. Dedicated to at-risk populations, such as the homeless, the impaired, the frail, or the disadvantaged, the Housing Grant Program seeks to improve conditions for those who have extra difficulty meeting their most basic needs. In 2012, the Twin Oaks was awarded $25,000 from this grant program in order to become fully handicapped accessible. This allows the facility to meet the needs of even another population.
Dedicated to returning its residents to better means of living, the Twin Oaks Shelter provides countless resources to allow its residents success in improving their quality of life. Its residents, being provided with an address and location, can utilize local pantries, take measures in securing occupational work, regaining lost legal documentation, or receive the medial attention and care they need. WHEDA continues to provide grant programs to these communities in need, recognizing that it may be the first step in ensuring that all Wisconsin residents may find happy and affordable housing. For those struggling with a physical handicap, the inclusion of accessibility can be the determining factor in finding a happier, more rooted life.