GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - More than 30 homeless organizations, coalitions, volunteers, residents and city leaders gathered Thursday night for the first Green Bay homeless task force meeting.
The task force was conceived after an issue of overcrowding at a local emergency shelter.
The first meeting only began another conversation on homelessness and scratched the surface of the issue. Alderman Mark Steuer leads the task force and feels a concerted effort by all parties can get a better grip on the issue. A frequent topic to come up was the city’s cracked down on the St. John Homeless shelter. Many felt it was the wrong move. Some took the opportunity to address public perception of homelessness and that they come here because of the services.
Jennifer Schmohe is with Forward Services Corporation and says some do come here because homeless agencies do a better job than other communities in providing services. Many pointed out a lack of available and affordable housing. Mike Blohowiak who is homeless right now and has battled against a drinking problem brought up what he called the "elephant in the room". He says he and many other homeless battle against addictions and alcohol problems.
Blohowiak says there was not a service or group to get treatment from.
Some agreed, while others did not.
In the backdrop of the conversation and why the group came together, was what to do about the homeless residents of Green Bay during the day after they get kicked out of the nightly St. John’s Evangelist Homeless emergency shelter.
Lutheran Social Services back out of a homeless daytime drop in center after the issue with St. John’s Homeless shelter came up. They are willing to step up, but are playing it by ear and want to see where this conversation in the community goes and what are the needs that need to be addressed.