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River Haven family shelter to re-open Monday
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River Haven family shelter to re-open Monday

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The River Haven shelter for families experiencing homelessness is set to re-open Monday following a renovation project.

The shelter has been closed for a complete bathroom remodel to cut down on the number of people using the same facilities. River Haven has otherwise been operating to help people in need throughout the year and the pandemic.

Executive Director Raquel Schwanbeck said the shelter wanted to make sure that the remodel was completed so there wouldn’t be unfinished work in case somebody did test positive for COVID-19, stalling the project.

Riven Haven has been taking precautions during the pandemic to lower the coronavirus risk, including having fewer people in the shelters, working to get people in the men’s shelter their own rooms when they are do, doing paperwork with clients outdoors when possible and symptom screening. Office staff have been taking steps like wearing masks, keeping distance and doing remote case management.

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The organization has also conducted virtual fundraising drives and has received generous support from the community.

“COVID doesn’t change,” said staffer Pete Bartaczewicz.

River Haven is in need of financial donations and household items, including to help clients who obtain their own housing. Items on the list include can openers, microwaves, air fryers, vacuum cleaners, sponge mops and brooms, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, gas gift cards and Walmart gift cards. Appliances may be used as long as they work.

River Haven also offers the Portage Area Community Assistance Program for individuals and families who need emergency assistance. More information is available at

Follow Chris Higgins on Twitter @chris_higgins_ or contact him at 920-356-6751 and


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