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Green Bay to enforce St. John's homeless shelter residency restrictions

by
St. John's Evangelist Homeless Shelter
St. John's Evangelist Homeless Shelter

GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The city of Green Bay says the downtown St. John’s Evangelist emergency homeless shelter is in violation of its conditional use permit that allows 64 people in the shelter at night.   

The city attorney sent the Green Bay Catholic Diocese a letter last week saying it has until Wednesday to comply or face further enforcement. 

The Diocese made the letter public at a news conference on Tuesday where Deacon Tim Reilly accused Mayor Jim Schmitt of having a personal vendetta against the shelter. 

Schmitt was one of several calls made to police recently concerning St. John's homeless residents. Schmitt reported a drunken homeless man who was urinating in a park across from his home. 

Schmitt later called an emergency meeting of the protection and welfare committee last Monday. 

There he took issue with the way the shelter operates, calling for the shelter to do more with the homeless during the day.  Police say there are increasing nusiance calls about the homeless during the day. 

Schmitt called for the temporary emergency shelter to do what the NEW Community Shelter does, by focusing on recovery.  Schmitt even called what the emergency shelter does now “un-Christian” because they don’t help homeless residents get on their feet. 

Plans are in the works between the city and Lutheran Social Services to establish a downtown drop in resource center that would focus on recovery. 

At the meeting, Schmitt hoped to convince the council members that the shelter was violating its conditional use permit. But that didn’t happen, instead the committee members called for a special committee on homelessness. 

Schmitt wanted the committee to refer the permit violation to the Plan Committee which meets in January.

At the news conference Tuesday, the Diocese remained defiant in taking in the homeless.  The shelter claims its operational plan, which must be submitted as part of the conditional use permit, allows for them to have an overflow of up to 20 people. 

The city letter sent to the shelter said they counted 86 people staying in the shelter on one night last week, two more than even what the shelter claims it can take in. 

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