Green Bay homeless daytime resource center moves forward

Proposed daytime resource center
Proposed daytime resource center

GREEN BAY - A proposed daytime resource center for Green Bay's homeless population is a step closer to becoming a reality.

The city's plan commission recommended a conditional use permit for New Visions.

The resource center would be located near the Mason Street Bridge on South Adams Street.

For more than three hours, people took turns voicing their opinions to Green Bay's plan commission on the proposed resource center for the homeless. Those who spoke included the homeless.

“We're just tired of not having anywhere to go and any hope,” said Samuel Davis.

Davis currently stays at St John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter. It's open at night November through April. It's two blocks from the building the city’s homeless taskforce wants for its daytime center.

“These people that you think are just homeless, they're some of the most intelligent people you could ever meet,” said Davis. “They have heart. They have compassion, but when you have nowhere to go, your heart and your compassion doesn't mean a lot. So please allow this to happen.”

Not everyone at the meeting was on board with the plan. Several members of the Astor Neighborhood Association say they have more questions than answers after meeting with resource center organizers.

“And then it was fast tracked this meeting here, so we really didn't even have a chance to have dialogue with this group,” said Cheryl Renier-Wigg of Green Bay.

City staff recommended the commission wait on a decision to allow for more communication between organizers and neighbors. But the commission instead voted 4 to 3 recommending a permit for the center.

“I feel there is some safety issues,” said Keith Obermiller of Green Bay. ”I feel there is some issues on how this shelter is going to be enforced to ensure there is no problems.”

“My door is always open,” said Jane Jordan of Lutheran Social Services, the group who would operate the center. “My phone is always on to be able to work together, certainly be glad to setup more meetings.”

The city council still needs to approve the commission's recommendation. It's expected to take up the issue in April.

The task force would like to open the center on June 1st.

City planner Nic Sparacio says the location in question is pegged to become a Fox River Trail park in the future. He says that means the shelter location would have to be temporary.