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The mission of WAHRS is to provide the best, most efficient, and effective services to runaway and homeless youth, including those who are pregnant and/or parenting. WAHRS, through a cooperative, strategically organized system between private member agencies, provides programs that strengthen families, prevent family dissolution, promote self-sufficiency, and assure safe, stable, and supportive homes for youth, young parents and their children.

For more information, please contact Joli Guenther at: joli@guenthershome.com.

Wisconsin Association for Homeless and Runaway Services

Wisconsin Association for Homeless and Runaway Services

Why we're here ...

Each year over 26,000 Wisconsin Families are confronted with a profound crisis — the running away of their child. Young people run away from home for a variety of reasons. In most instances, they leave because of a family conflict, typically by lack of communication. Other times, they are forced out of their homes by parents or leave to escape sexual or physical abuse. Returning a youth to this environment without an attempt at resolution can result in more runaway episodes, continuing family conflict, or even more tragic consequences.

The Wisconsin Association for Homeless and Runaway Services, formed in 1979, is a coalition of community based, voluntary, non-profit agencies. The Association's members provide preventive and crisis counseling, temporary shelter, and referral services to these troubled youth. Family counseling is also provided to bring about reconciliation with parents whenever possible. Program services are available on a walk-in basis, as well as through 24 hour crisis hotlines.

The programs present young people with an opportunity to sort out problems and begin building more productive relationships with parents, friends, school, and community.

The Goals of Wisconsin Association for Homeless and Runaway Services are:

  1. To identify, inform, and bring together a broad based constituency interested in improving and supporting services to runaway and homeless youth.

  2. To monitor and advocate for legislation and regulations that will improve services to runaway and homeless youth.

  3. To provide mutual support, technical assistance, and information among runaway services and homes for pregnant and parenting teens.

  4. To secure adequate funding to maintain runaway services and homes for pregnant and parenting teens.


Joli Guenther

Executive Director

Joli Guenther


Joli Guenther was hired on as Executive Director in 2020, previous Assistant Director, worked on the proposed street outreach programs since their development in 1999 providing staff development, training and oversight of direct service and street outreach. Joli is a member of the RHYTTAC Advisory Board, National Safe Place Advisory Board and National Network for Youth Policy Council. For the past 20 years she also develops and facilitates conferences and training events and assists in the development and improvement of programming in street outreach, basic center, and TLP programs across Wisconsin.

Shana Dumbleton

Assistant Director & Americorps Program Director

Shana Dumbleton


Shana Dumbleton is new to the WAHRS staff as of 2020. She worked in Education for the past 20 years with the majority of that time being a School Counselor at a high school in Madison, Wisconsin.

Tim Bohrer

Americorps Program Director

Tim Bohrer


Tim has been a member of the WAHRS staff since 2019. Previously he served as director of the Runaway and Homeless Youth program in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Board of Directors, 2020 - 2021

Executive Committee

Tammy DeGarmo: President - 1 year
Project 16:49, Janesville

Tyler Schueffner: Vice President - 2 years
Briarpatch, Madison

Emily Greene: Treasurer - 2 years
Youth and Family Project, West Bend
Audra O'Connel: At Large - 1 year
Walkers Point Youth and Family Center, Milwaukee

Jeannine Field: Secretary - 1 year
Kenosha Human Development Services

Katie Gazella - 2 years
Family Services of NE WI, Green Bay

Shannon Wienandt - 1 year
House of Hope, Green Bay

Gay/Lesbian/Transgenger Seat - 2 years
Tim Baack
Pathfinders, Milwaukee

Tanya Nelson - 2 years
HDC, Superior

Wendy Fletcher - 2 years
Family Crisis Center, Stevens Point

Youth Seat (Under 18)

Youth Seat (18-21)

Person of Color Seat - 2 years
Shebria Small
Safe Haven, Racine

Person of Color Seat - 2 years
DeShanda Williams

Katie Vangroll - 2 years
Boys and Girls Club, Appleton

Tanya Alexander - 1 year
LSS Eau Claire

WAHRS • Joli Guenther • joli@guenthershome.com • 608-239-5430

Mail to:   PO BOX 317 / Portage, WI 53901

WAHRS • Joli Guenther

Mail to:   WAHRS / PO BOX 317 / Portage, WI 53901