Harbor House Homeless Ministry Celebrates 20 Years of Service

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Superior homeless shelter Harbor House homeless ministry.

SUPERIOR, Wis. – This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Superior homeless shelter Harbor House homeless ministry.

Harbor House homeless ministry in Superior has been a part of the community for the past two decades, welcoming, housing, and working with homeless women and families throughout Douglas County.

“If you can imagine, a mom with her kids and trying to carry out all their belongings on a bus go and find shelter, blessedly CHUM has been there but we really needed something for Douglas County residents,” said Rev. Barb Certa-Werner, the founder of Harbor House Crisis Shelters.

When Reverend Barb Certa-Werner first moved to Superior with her husband, there was no homeless shelter for families and children, specifically in Superior. Everyone had to either drive or take the bus across the bridge to CHUM, which complicated things because it crossed state lines.

“We love because Christ loved us and then there’s no fruit of that so this was one way for me to help live that out and provide a connection for people who are broken to feel whole again and feel loved,” said Rev. Certa-Werner.

Superior Faith United Methodist Church had an empty parsonage and converted it into a homeless shelter, gradually adding other buildings. Last year, they opened a permanent supportive housing unit.

Current Executive Director Chelsea Branley says it’s difficult to sometimes see the cyclical nature of homelessness come up in her work.

“The connection is there,” said Chelsea Branley, the executive director of Harbor House. You see them come, you see them go, sometimes they’ll go and everything is great and then they’re coming back and it’s as if they’re starting from the bottom again and sometimes that’s a difficult thing to watch.”

She says that amidst the mental health, substance abuse, and poverty that she works through, her clients have taught her so much during her time at Harbor House.

“These last couple of years have really shown me what is important within my own life and things that maybe I thought were important previously are not,” said Branley. “And I think that these people are teaching me just as many things as I am teaching them if not more.”

You can also give to Harbor House and its mission. Click here for more information.

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