St. John homeless shelter guests eye transition

GREEN BAY – At the end of the month St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter in Green Bay will be closing for the season.

Having stayed at St. John since November, 22-year-old Zachary Pate says he is ready to make it on his own.

“Sleeping with 80 something people isn’t always what you want to go to bed with,” said Pate.

Pate is one of about 30 people at the shelter who will be helped through the federal government’s Rapid Re-Housing Program.

St. John is distributing money from the program so each person receives $450 for an apartment security deposit. They’ll also receive $450 for first month’s rent, $325 for second month’s rent, and $225 for the third month.

“So it helps to transition them faster than they would if they needed to come up with that security deposit and first month’s rent on their own,” said Alexia Wood, the executive director of the shelter.

“It’s very nice because it allows us to save money,” said Pate. “It allows us to open bank accounts.”

St. John offers the money to guests who are making an effort to find housing and have a steady income, so they won’t be homeless when the assistance stops.

“And then they remain actively involved in case management,” said Wood. “They have to show they are tracking towards their goals, but then we can assist with home visits and going into their homes and kind of trouble shooting roadblocks that may arise.”

Right now about 70 people are staying at the shelter a night. St. John officials say about 35 have an income. Those who don’t are working with case managers on either long-term housing options or transitional living.

“They help out the people who truly want to do better in life,” said Pate.

Pate says with the help he’s received, he’s hopeful his homeless days are about to be behind him.

“Yeah I’m pretty confident,” said Pate.

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