La Crosse Organization that helps People who are Homeless Celebrates Big Milestone

The Franciscan Hospitality House is celebrating it’s third year anniversary in La Crosse. The organization says it has been able to help about 500 people each year by providing them with food, water and housing.

One of those people the organization has helped is John King.

“I had to live in the park. I didn’t have a choice,” King said.

A couple of years ago, King lost his car and was in a bad living situation.

“I came on some hard luck,” King said.

King discovered the Franciscan Hospitality House and they helped get him an apartment.

“I just think that the Franciscan House is very very great and I’m thankful for them,” King said.

One of King’s best friends, Joey McDermitt, also struggled with being homeless.

“I got blessed. That’s the only way to put it,” McDermitt said.

The Franciscan Hospitality House helped get McDermitt an apartment and now he helps others get off the street.

“I’ve got a place and I’ve only got an efficiency, but if somebody’s down and out, they come and hang out with me,” McDermitt said.

McDermitt said if it wasn’t for the Franciscan Hospitality House, he would still be homeless.

“They want you to succeed. They care about you. Bottom line they just care,” McDermitt said.

Roberto Partarrieu is the executive director of Catholic Charities which runs the Franciscan Hospitality House. He says they want to provide a caring community.

“It’s mainly a place where they can get together and talk to each other and support each other. That’s our main goal,” Partarrieu said.

The organization not only helps house people, but also gives them food, water and temporary shelter. But the non-profit couldn’t run without volunteers.

“The charity of the people in the La Crosse community is unbelievable,” Partarrieu said.

King has lived all over the country and is also grateful for the people here.

“I’ve seen more people housed here and be given the chance than I’ve ever seen anywhere in my life,” King said.