Brown County talks new housing navigator position for 2019

By  | 

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - On Wednesday night, Brown County's Human Services Committee considered the creation of a new position called a housing navigator, to assist with the growing issue of homelessness.

Earlier this week in a Target 2 Investigation, Sarah Thomsen showed us the many reasons hundreds of families in Brown County are unable to find a safe and affordable place to live. Working families are becoming homeless because landlords don't have to accept housing vouchers and shelters are often at capacity.

Some officials believe the housing navigator would be a part of the solution.

Robyn Hallet, Housing Administrator for Green Bay and Brown County Housing tells Action 2 News, "There are so many people in our community who are housing deficient that really need somebody to kind of navigate them through the process of knowing where they can go for housing assistance."

A housing navigator identifies and connects with people who are homeless, leading them to the social services they need and helping them find an immediate place to live. But the information they collect is imperative to solving bigger problems in the homeless community, too.

“That person would be available to really address the gaps in the whole housing spectrum. So they could be looking at where are the gaps for affordable housing, where do we need to connect and build relationships, with landlords, how can we make this whole process easier for folks,” said Tami Frea of the Brown County Homeless and Housing Coalition. “So that would benefit everybody and not just those individuals that the person might be working with."

Right now, people in need use case workers, if they're lucky enough to have them.

“I think a lot of that is left up to the individuals to struggle through on their own, and again, they may not have the life skills needed to know how to do that,” said Hallet.

The Brown County meeting did not end with an official ruling on whether the housing navigator position will be created, but officials tell us the fact it's being discussed is a step in the right direction. The goal is to introduce the position in next year’s county budget.