St. John's Shelter Troubles
Ahead of a huge snow storm, city leaders say starting Wednesday night the shelter will be fined more than $600 each night it allows more than 64 people to stay. Video by nbc26.comvideo
A Green Bay homeless shelter gets a stern warning. City leaders believe St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter is allowing too many people to stay.
As the temperature continues to drop, the Diocese of Green Bay says more homeless people are going to need to stay at this shelter. But city leaders say starting Wednesday night, the shelter will be fined more than $600 each night it allows more than 64 people to stay.
Deacon Tim Reilly sees the letter from the city as unholy.
"Do what you want, but we need to take care of the people who are going to be coming to the shelter Wednesday night in the middle of the snow storm," Deacon Reilly said.
The letter from Assistant City Attorney James Mueller states that St. John's has until Wednesday to comply with their conditional use permit of allowing 64 people maximum or they will face hefty fines and could be shut down.
Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt claims the shelter has been over capacity every night in December reaching as high as 86.
"We understand they have a good heart, but most people in this community do. But when we grant a conditional use permit to someone, we expect them to hold up their end of the deal and they certainly aren't," Mayor Schmitt said.
Deacon Reilly says the shelter has complied because they have an operational plan that allows for overflow.
"We open up another part of the shelter to accommodate those people when we go over 64 residents," Deacon Reilly said.
But Mueller says that plan is not the same because it doesn't deal with zoning issues.
"The conditional use permit says 64. If they have this clause then why isn't there even a 64 number if they can just go for that?" Mueller said.
Despite the battle, Deacon Reilly hasn't lost faith.
"We will prevail. One way or another we will take care of the homeless," Deacon Reilly said.
The assistant city attorney tells us the diocese will meet with the planning commission to try and raise the shelter's occupancy level to 84. But that meeting won't happen until next month.