MANITOWOC - Nearly three years ago, FOX 11 first told you about an effort to bring a men's homeless shelter to Manitowoc. Next month, the shelter is expected to take in its first guests.
The Haven is located on the corner of Marshall Street and 11th Street. It's in the old St. Boniface School.
Homeless single men have never had a shelter to stay at in Manitowoc County. Starting April 15th, they'll have the old Catholic grade school.
“We're a tough society and it's a tough stigma for adult men need to be tough and grab themselves by the boot straps, just toughen up and take care of themselves, but unfortunately that can't always happen on their own,” said Mark LeGreve, the board president of The Haven.
LeGreve says of the 90,000 people in Manitowoc County, about 125 of them are homeless men.
“It's a hard number to get a hold on, but based on all the other non-profits in the community that's a number we've reached upon,” said LeGreve.
The county's Veteran Services Office has seen the need. This year, they've already helped four veterans at high risk of being homeless.
“So if you've had four already in the first three months of the year, you can see that's just the veteran population what the population must be in general out here is pretty strong,” said Jane Babcock with the Veteran Services Office.
The Haven will be able to house up to 80 men a year, as many as 20 at one time, with the ability to stay 90 days. Guests will meet with a case manager for an hour each week, working on a plan to be self-sufficient.
“And week by week you can reassess whether they're earning their keep or whether they're holding a spot that could be better suited for someone who is willing to try harder,” said LeGreve.
This project did face some opposition in the beginning when it came to a potential location. LeGreve says those concerns played a large role in the decision making process.
“We're right next to a lot of the county buildings, we're right next to Hope House, for the homeless families, we're right across the road from Marco, we're two blocks from the bus stop, it's just a phenomenal location,” said LeGreve.
$200,000 was raised to renovate the building. LeGreve says it will cost $180,000 to operate the shelter each year.
Considering the three-year journey to took to get to this point, LeGreve believes the community will keep giving to make the shelter a success.
“A lot of questions from the community, they keep prodding us along and keep asking and it's just been a joy to be a part of,” said LeGreve.