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Action Towards Accessibility at Twin Oaks Shelter

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 a volatile stock market made homeownership difficult for residents who could previously afford it. Between the years of 2000 and 2011, Darien foreclosures increased by 385%, and the total number of evictions rose by 53%, causing unprecedented displacement in the small community. The needs of those affected were so widely varied that meeting them all seemed like an impossible task.

The Twin Oaks Shelter of Walworth County was ready to meet the challenge. Accepting those afflicted not only by homelessness, but also domestic abuse, chronic mental illness, addiction, and the handicapped, Twin Oaks sought to provide transitional housing that would help the residents of Darien get back on their feet. As the number of residents grew, and more accommodations became necessary, Twin Oaks realized that it needed additional resources to continue supporting clients.

The need is greater than it's ever been. We take in everybody.
-John Hembrook, former Manager of the Twin Oaks Shelter

When Community Action, Inc. of Rock & Walworth Counties, owner of Twin Oaks Shelter, applied for grant funds through The WHEDA Foundation Housing Grant Program, they soon found the relief that they needed. 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 difficulty meeting their most basic needs. In 2012, the Twin Oaks Shelter was awarded a $25,000 grant in order to make the modifications needed to become fully handicapped accessible. These funds allowed the facility to meet the needs of yet another population.

Dedicated to returning its residents to a better means of living, the Twin Oaks Shelter provides countless resources to assist residents with improving their quality of life. Residents can utilize the shelter's  address to access local pantries, take measures in securing occupational work, regain lost legal documentation, in addition to receiving the medial attention and care they need.

WHEDA continues to provide grants to communities in need, recognizing that it is the first step toward ensuring that all Wisconsin residents find 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.