Rev. Jane Courtright, Tammy Modic and Barbara Helmick show off a plaque recognizing the First United Methodist Church of Christ in Eagle River as NATH-Frederick Placeís 2019 Partner of the Year.
2/6/2020 7:30:00 AM NATH event raises $20,000 for Frederick Place
Stephanie Kuski River News Features Reporter
The nonprofit organization Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing (NATH) celebrated nine years in the community with an nniversary dinner Saturday evening at Cabaret Cove in Rhinelander.
The event was also a fundraiser with all proceeds benefiting Frederick Place, a 16-bed emergency, temporary shelter in Rhinelander for families, women and men who are experiencing homelessness.
According to NATH Executive Director Tammy Modic, approximately $20,000 was raised Saturday.
"Frederick Place first opened its doors on Jan. 31, 2011," Modic said. "We had one individual that first night and we've never been empty ever since."
The funds raised from the benefit night support the operating costs of keeping the doors to Frederick Place open to the community.
Modic said they were able to raise more than their $19,000 goal and even beat their record from last year.
"Last year, we netted just shy of $17,000," Modic said, "so we raised approximately $3,000 more than last year."
Approximately 180 patrons were in attendance, Modic said, which was also more than they had seen in previous years.
The goal for next year is to get 200 people to attend, she added.
Modic said the night of celebration featured several activities, including a beverage raffle, a dessert dash, heads and tails, as well as a series of auctions and basket raffles which kept patrons entertained throughout the night.
The 20 desserts in the dessert dash alone netted $4,700 alone, Modic noted.
Table sponsors, or groups of 8-10, could pay a little extra for their table to be reserved, which also made them eligible for a sponsorship raffle and a chance to win $600 in prepaid gift cards.
"It wasn't just a sit-down-and-listen-to-someone-talk kind of evening, it was an active event," Modic said.
The anniversary benefit is NATH's biggest fundraiser of the year, Modic said, noting the organization holds roughly 30 fundraisers per year.
While the nonprofit relies on state and federal funding to meet its annual budget needs, Modic said NATH also relies heavily on donations from the community.
"The majority of the money that it takes to run Frederick Place comes from our community," Modic said. "After nine years, the community still continues to support us."
Modic said homelessness is an issue many in the community face on a daily basis. She said that while Frederick Place houses, on average, 10 to 12 local individuals per night, they house approximately 100 individuals each year. In the nine years they've been in operation, 740 individuals have called 204 W Frederick Street home.
"I think one of the reasons we continue to have the support of the community is that we have done what we told the community we were doing to do," Modic said. "We are a zero-tolerance facility yet to this day, someone is not allowed to stay here as long as they want and we have many rules in place."
But the road to success for NATH and Frederick Place was not smooth sailing at the start.
While NATH and Frederick Place continue to receive generous support from the community today, Modic said the stigma surrounding homelessness still exists for many.
"People will ask, 'what causes someone to be homeless?' but there really is no one answer," she explained. "Tens of thousands of people are one job loss, one medical emergency, one car breakdown away from being homeless. It could be your next door neighbor, it could be the person sitting next to you or in line at the grocery store and you wouldn't know, because it could be anybody."
Modic said that while there are many precipitating factors which could lead an individual to experience homelessness, the lack of a liveable wage and affordable housing is at the root of the problem for many in our community.
"The minimum wage (in Wisconsin) hasn't changed, and yet the cost of living and housing has increased, so finding affordable housing is what people still struggle with," Modic said. "There aren't enough apartments to rent in general, much less in the market that our residents are able to afford."
She said the negative stigma associated with individuals experiencing homelessness is a recurring problem in our society today, but one that is beginning to receive the attention it deserves.
In an effort to continue expanding their support, Modic invites the public to sign up to volunteer at Frederick Place and/or help out at their various fundraising events.
"We're hoping that area businesses and individuals will be able to volunteer 20 hours within the year 2020," Modic said, noting that NATH and Frederick Place depend on the continued support of the community in order to continue in their mission to end homelessness.
For more information on how to volunteer, visit the Frederick Place Facebook page or website, or call Frederick Place at 715-369-9777.
The Northwoods River News | Walker Communications, LLC 232 S. Courtney Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501 | Office (715) 365-6397 | Fax (715) 365-6361
Corporate billing office: The Lakeland Times / Lakeland Printing Inc. | P.O. Box 790, Minocqua, WI 54548 | (715) 356-5236 | Fax (715) 358-2121 Members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Community Papers, Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce