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Homeless shelter marks 30-year anniversary

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Homeless shelter marks 30-year anniversary

By Charles Benson. CREATED May 6, 2012

MILWAUKEE - How many people have slept at your house unannounced?

If you're "The Guest House," the answer is thousands. The Milwaukee shelter is celebrating 30 years of erasing homelessness.

"I was kind of skeptical at first," Sidney Berry says.

Berry remembers the day he walked through the front doors of The Guest House one year ago.  It changed his life.

"Honestly, I shudder to think where I would be today," Berry says.

Berry's not alone. The Guest House on North 13th Street shelters more than 80 men every night in its dorm.

"Today, we are kind of a one stop shop," Executive Director Cindy Krahenbuhl says.

"Lost a job, struggling with mental illness, perhaps a criminal past, but we have come with more sophisiticated ways now to deal with those issues."

The times have changed, but the mission is the same.

The Guest House now offers on site drug and an alcohol addiction and mental health counseling as well as employment and educational services.

"We see people who have been homeless five or ten years, have had drug addiction illness or mental illness for 20 to 30 years, but finally overcome that and then they move out of The Guest House and into a place of their own."

Berry is now making that successful transition, thanks to that night he decided to go to the Guest House.

"I'd recommend it to anyone who is thinking their life is over with, they can't get it back together," Berry says.

"Come to The Guest House.  It's a good place to be.  It's good people."

Charles Benson

Charles Benson

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Charles Benson is one of the most reliable, trusted and experienced reporters in southeast Wisconsin. If there's a big story going on, Charles is usually there leading the way.