LSS has always been committed to healthy communities and improving the lives of those we serve.  We serve individuals who live with serious and persistent mental health challenges, homelessness and/or significant trauma histories.

Trauma trained staff and volunteers empower individuals to take charge of their recovery and provide a safe place to access resources to address critical basic needs.  Our center provides on-site direct Mental Health services, facilitates access to psychiatric services, and provides stability so they can become active members of the community. These trauma-informed, recovery-oriented programs promote wellness, encourage self-direction, and foster hope.

LSS Gaining Ground – (Formerly Positive Avenues)


Eau Claire/Chippewa Valley has been home to Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS) for more than 100 years with our daytime resource center – LSS Gaining Ground – serving the community since 1998. LSS Gaining Ground is a free daytime resource center open Monday through Friday to those experiencing mental health concerns or homelessness in Eau Claire, WI.  The center’s mission is to provide members with trauma-informed, recovery-oriented services so you can develop social skills and become active members of the community.

For nearly a decade, we have seen the needs of our community grow from 25 people per day to 75-100 per day. When the pandemic hit, we collaborated with Catholic Charities to temporarily move then Positive Avenues, from daytime service hours to a 24/7 shelter. LSS provided crisis services and resources while Catholic Charities managed the shelter side of care. With the increase in this population, we realize that one place or group cannot serve the diverse needs of people experiencing homelessness.

Today, as the country is starting to reopen and more people are vaccinated, LSS is able to return to daytime hours. Yet, our expert staff – joined with voices by our contemporaries from Catholic Charities, human services, Government and other community partners – have all agreed that we need to modify our approach to best serve our Participant’s important needs.

Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS) has a vision for expanded service delivery for people experiencing mental health concerns and homelessness in Eau Claire, WI. We have all learned a lot from our need to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. New and necessary innovations like Telehealth and increased safety measures have allowed us to stay open for service during this unprecedented time. It is clear for LSS that moving forward we must do things differently in order to empower our participants to seek and ultimately realize a life that is truly their own. Resources are limited, preventing good organizations with strong programs from fully realizing their missions of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, loving the lost and lonely, and teaching our neighbors the skills they need to live independently. We imagine what LSS and our community partners will be able to accomplish by pooling our strengths and resources together in collaboration around the goal to encircle our mutual participants with the comprehensive solutions they need to thrive.


Multiple community partners are co-creating to redevelop the day services to a well-coordinated system of support that wholly addresses the needs of people including and beyond homelessness. This new approach to service delivery meets the social, emotional, and economic needs that lead to self-sufficiency. Starting April 1, 2021, LSS began offering these services at the existing Sojourner House facility located at 618 S. Barstow St..


Friendships Unlimited

Since 1984, we’ve operated Friendships Unlimited in partnership with Waukesha County Health and Human Services.

It serves as a daytime recovery center for people experiencing mental illness. The program promotes wellness, encourages self-direction and fosters hope. Here, members will be empowered to take control of their own recovery and have an opportunity to build a system that enhances and supports it.

Friendships Unlimited offers a safe, drug-free environment where you can connect, make friends, gain support and learn skills to help you live a more fulfilling life. Here, you’ll meet others who can relate to your struggles and triumphs with mental illness and also get involved in activities that interest you. The staff offer hope through their own personal experiences and empower others who have similar diagnoses along with offering educational classes and fun social activities designed to help you thrive.

To join Friendships Unlimited, you need to be at least 18 years old, a Waukesha County resident and have a verified mental illness diagnosis.


Certified peer specialist: Peer support is offered by staff who identify as having lived experience with trauma, psychiatric diagnosis and/or extreme emotional states and or/substance use. A certified peer specialist is a person who has not only lived these experiences but also has had formal training in the peer specialist model of mental health and/or substance use disorder supports.  It is the role of the certified peer specialist to ensure members are empowered to take control of their own recovery, and they encourage an environment where both parties can share their experiences of what works.

Educational groups: Join a group to learn practical, effective ways to enhance your recovery.


Social activities and outings: Join in planned monthly activities, celebrate birthdays and holidays together and build friendships along the way.

Opportunities to get involved in shaping Friendships: Get involved in our member-driven center, where you are encouraged to set rules and guidelines at our committee meetings.

Spring City Corner Clubhouse 

Located in downtown Waukesha, the Spring City Corner Clubhouse is a daytime resource center that welcomes adults who are diagnosed with mental illness to build critical life skills. We operate the Clubhouse in conjunction with Waukesha County Health and Human Services. The Clubhouse staff provides support, social connections and meaningful work for its members.

Spring City Corner Clubhouse offerings are based on a recognized international model that provides social contact in a structured, meaningful daily routine for those disabled by mental illness. The program has proven vital in relieving feelings of hopelessness, which can lead to a greater risk of psychiatric hospitalization.

What the Clubhouse can do for you

As a member, you’ll receive support in your recovery, meet new people, break the cycle of isolation and become active in the community again. Through a work-ordered day that parallels normal working hours, you will be empowered by working side by side with staff and other members, as colleagues, in the daily operations of the clubhouse.

You decide how you want to be involved by choosing work in the departments that interest you or use your talents. The departments are: clerical/members, culinary/snack ship and maintenance. There are no schedules, agreements, contracts or rules for participating – you choose the involvement at the level that feels right to you.

Employment assistance and education at the clubhouse

By contributing to the work of Spring City Corner Clubhouse, you will:

  • Gain skills and the confidence to accomplish personal goals and/or consider options like school, employment or volunteer work.
  • Develop relationships working side-by-side with staff and colleagues, boosting social competence and self-esteem.
  • Discover unique abilities, potential and talents, and the staff will help promote them.

The staff at the Spring City Corner Clubhouse provides support and guidance to help you reach your employment goals:

  • Transitional employment: the Clubhouse staff connects you with part-time, temporary job placements in local organizations for the prevailing wage rate.
  • Independent (competitive) job assistance
  • Job coaching and support on the job
  • Employment workshops
  • Independent employment
  • Educational referrals and tutoring
  • Volunteer work

To join the Clubhouse, you must be a Waukesha County resident and 18 years of age or older with a verified primary diagnosis of major mental illness. Our doors are open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Spring City Corner Clubhouse Newsletter