Gazette: Help for above (in a way)

Janesville air charter company donates supplies to House of Mercy Homeless Center

JANESVILLE, Wisconsin – The cost of pots, pans, pillows, vacuum cleaner, small appliances, dish towels and other household items can add up.

For House of Mercy residents, many of whom have almost no belongings, that cost can be the difference between homelessness and independent living, House of Mercy manager Tammie King-Johnson said.

The homeless shelter provides items to residents as they transition out of the shelter. Recent donations from employees at Janesville-based SC Aviation will help, King-Johnson said.

SC Aviation, an air charter and aviation services company with facilities at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport, donated $2,900 worth of household items to the House of Mercy on Wednesday. The donation is the largest the company has given to the shelter since the organizations began working together about a year ago, SC’s charter manager Margaret Clark said.

Four employees from SC Aviation and staffers from House of Mercy on Wednesday unloaded goods from three vehicles into the shelter at 320 Lincoln St.

SC Aviation employees pooled money to purchase goods from Colony Brands for the shelter, Mercyhealth spokeswoman Trish Reed said.

The company wanted to find a way to give back to the community, said SC director of sales Dan Morrison.

The donation program has been well received by SC employees, Morrison said.

King-Johnson said the items will have a positive effect on shelter residents.

The shelter often receives and appreciates used items as donations, she said, but giving residents brand-new items of their own motivates them even more to live independently.

The shelter sometimes uses donated goods as incentives for residents to do additional household chores or complete goals toward finding post-shelter housing, King-Johnson said.

The House of Mercy’s waiting list continues to grow as Janesville’s stock of affordable housing remains low, King-Johnson said.

Janesville and Rock County are “landlords’ markets,” she said. That means rental properties are in high demand, which allows landlords to be more selective when choosing tenants.

The result is vulnerable populations such as the elderly, disabled and low-income earners being turned away with nowhere else to go, King-Johnson said.

King-Johnson is a member of the Rock County Homeless Intervention Task Force. She hopes to see the community find ways to offer more affordable housing and provide landlords training for how to work with tenants with a variety of needs, she said.

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