DEDICATED TO IMPROVING AVAILABLE RESOURCES
FOR OUR COMMUNITY'S HOMELESS POPULATION.
Even though the Wyoming Coalition for the Homeless has been active since 1990 it seems that a lot of people are still unaware of the agency and/or have misconceptions about WCH. In the beginning WCH put out a monthly newsletter, held Homeless Memorial Day on December 21 of each year and passed information from national agencies/causes to Wyoming agencies.
In 1993 a couple of formerly homeless individuals approached WCH asking if an empowerment program using the arts could be established. The board approved of this activity and started looking for a location. It took until May of 1994 to find the location upstairs in the Needs building. It did not take long to realize that more than the empowerment program was needed -- the location soon evolved into the Welcome Mat Day Center - Cheyenne's ONLY day center for the homeless. With the Day Center came nutritional snacks, coffee, and the company of others. The arts program led to the publication of StreetViews, a literary magazine and several art shows by homeless artists. In addition, WCH volunteers began making sleeping bags for homeless individuals -- both children and adults.
WCH still holds Homeless Memorial Day each year on December 21st and relays information on national/international homeless issues as well as local to other agencies around the state.
In 1999 Needs changed the rules at its clothing closet and excluded the homeless. In response, WCH opened a separate clothing closet for the homeless which was still located at the Needs facility but which was separate and apart for the Needs clothing program. In addition, in 1999 WCH was gifted with a large amount of stocks and bonds, and a search began for a new location. In August 2000 WCH purchased, on contract for deed, the building at 907 Logan Avenue (renamed Campbell Avenue by the city.) Also in 2000 WCH began taking donated bicycles, repairing them and giving them to homeless in need of transportation.
In 2005 WCH applied for the former Naval Reserve building at 4700 Ocean Loop. The building was government surplus and homeless programs were given preference. WCH received the keys on November 2, 2005. The building housed the Art From The Streets Gallery and Studio, a computer lab, bicycle repair shop, conference room, library, sewing and fabric rooms for making sleeping bags. Work has been moving slowly towards the opening of a Day Care in the same building.
In 2006 thanks to a grant from the Daniel's Fund WCH installed a shower and a laundry facility in the Welcome Mat at 907 Logan Avenue. Thus providing the only free laundry facility for the homeless, and the only place homeless camping out or traveling through the area can take a shower during the day.
Volunteers from St. Peter's Church, Lowes Heroes, Cheyenne Evangelical Free Church, Knife River Corporation, Warren Air Force Base, Eagle Scout projects, Central High School, Berean Fundamental Church and others have repaired bikes, moved furniture, painted, made minor repairs, re-arranged doors and walls, and set up the playground for the day care.
In March 2008 WCH opened the Look Your Best Clothing Room at the Richards Center. This closet is open to all, but is there mainly to provide a place for those attending Life Skills and Job Skills classes, to find clothing for jobs or job interviews.
The remodel for the day care has made a great deal of progress, but funds are still needed to finish the work. Donations to the building fund should be mailed (or brought) to 907 Campbell Avenue, formerly Logan Avenue, marked building fund.
WCH works with the other social service agencies in town, providing for those that fall through the cracks, and providing extra services for those coming into the Welcome Mat and the empowerment programs. No one agency can cover all the needs of the poor and homeless. A coordination of agencies serving this population means that more people will be able to receive the needed help. COMEA House, Salvation Army, Community Action, Needs, St. Joseph's Catholic Church Pantry are among the agencies that share clients and are able to work together to assist clients.
WCH shares donated items that cannot be used at WCH or surplus items with other agencies and individuals in need.