City Council approves St. John’s Homeless Shelter initiative, reports to be submitted throughout program’s entirety

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 10:36 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Members of the Green Bay City Council discussed a proposed plan to extend services provided at St. John’s Homeless Shelter to St. John’s Park Tuesday evening, and approved of the shelter’s “Engage” initiative - with a condition.

The proposal made by the shelter last week to the Parks Committee, spurred a lengthy discussion at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

RELATED: St. John’s Homeless Shelter staff propose pilot program to “Engage” homeless at area park

The Council’s approval of the shelter’s “Engage” initiative, comes with a condition that reports be submitted throughout the duration of the program.

The pilot program focuses on those who have been resistant to the shelter, and instead choosing to find shelter at St. John’s Park.

Homeless outreach advocates estimate there are about 40 people consistently resistant to help.

Community Officer Paul VanHandel says last year, there were about 119 people who came into the community who struggled with homelessness. He also says 143 individuals moved out of the community.

The program would run from May through the end of October, and would allow St. John’s Homeless Shelter to deploy staff and implement structured programs.

District Four Alder, Bill Galvin asked the county to be more involved in addressing homeless issues. The Mayor says there’s already a steering committee with stakeholders looking at the homeless issues through the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation.

Reports would be submitted to the Parks Committee and Protection Policy Committee throughout the length of the program.

“I would like a report done identifying how many contacts we have with these individuals and were, I think this would give us a really good idea of the impact they are having on our community where it’s happening,” said Galvin.

“I think that we are working so hard on measuring every little bit of possible progress, we’re forgetting this is a program about human beings who are facing tremendous challenges,” said Lynn Gerlach, the Alder for District Three.

Action 2 News previously reported a stipulation of the program would be people entering the park would be required to sign a code of conduct. However, that provision has now been taken out.

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