The Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Saint Francis de Sales agreed to a partnership with the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County to house individuals facing housing instability who are symptomatic and who face the greatest risk from COVID-19 in a temporary shelter at Clare Hall on the campus of Saint Francis de Sales Seminary.
The agreement began Monday, March 30.
“The Church always stands in the defense of life,” said Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. “This is simply the right thing to do. The Church in Milwaukee is a good community citizen, and this request also aligns with our call to ‘Love One Another.’ Clare Hall is located on the grounds of our Seminary, which has been preparing men for the priesthood since the mid-19th century. What better example for those studying for the priesthood than for us to reach out to the most vulnerable?”
The city of Milwaukee provided furnishing and necessary supplies, and the Milwaukee Health Department will coordinate referrals to the facility. Health Department staff ,along with members of the Wisconsin National Guard, Milwaukee County housing division and the City of Milwaukee Department of Administration will provide service at Clare Hall, located at 3470 S. Illinois Ave. in St. Francis.
Another wing of Clare Hall (about 40 rooms) will house people who are deemed as “vulnerable,” i.e. those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.
“Our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 will determine the outcome of this crisis for tomorrow and for the foreseeable future, and this approach must take into account residents facing housing instability,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “We are proud to partner with the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee as we work together to put the health and safety of all of our residents above all else. We can and will save lives as we continue to support all of our residents in a holistic, comprehensive and compassionate manner.”
Donations to support the temporary shelter have been provided by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, the Plaza Hotel in Milwaukee, Ingleside Hotel in Pewaukee, Hampton Inn on College Avenue in Milwaukee and Homewood Suites Milwaukee Downtown.
“Coordinated preparation and action are key to saving lives during this public health crisis. We know there will be increasing demands on housing and health care, so this effort will take us one more step forward in meeting the need,” Mayor Tom Barrett said. “I am grateful to the archdiocese, the generous donors, and all the partners who are making this happen.”
Clare Hall was recently retired from housing seminarians and is far enough from the main campus to not put any seminarians still in residence in any danger of spreading the virus.