GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — A homeless man in Green Bay says that police told him that he has three days to leave St. John's Park, and if his belongings aren't removed from the park, they'll be taken.
An official at St. John's Ministries saysother people have been told the same thing.
At the corner of Jefferson and Martin Streets in downtown Green Bay is St. John's Park, where Elijah — who prefers to go by his first name — has been staying.
"Chronically homeless, and it's just kind of messed up," Elijah said.
Elijah says he's been staying at the park for five years.
But he says he's been told by police that he can't remain there.
"This has been happening for quite some time," Elijah said. "If you don't get your stuff, they'll throw it away. And that's not right."
Elijah says that last Tuesday, he was given a notice from Green Bay police that he has 72 hours to remove his belongings, otherwise they'll be thrown out.
The police department wasn't available for comment at the time the story aired.
But St. John's Ministries Director of Community Engagement Steve Schauer says this has been happening.
"Homelessness has gotten a lot worse in the last couple years," Schauer said. "The pandemic, the economy, drugs, mental health. There's a lot of things that add into it."
Two emergency shelters are now open until the end of April.
Schauer says St. John's has permits with the city.
"One of those allows us to operate more beds during the winter months as opposed to the summer."
St. John's also has two daytime resource centers to help those without shelter find a permanent home.
"We have the resources and we have the shelter, and it's just connecting to get them to understand that we're here to help," Schauer said.
And Elijah is asking for more than just housing.
"Just let us sleep," Elijah said.
City code states that nobody can stay in a Green Bay city park between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless it's approved by the city. However, Elijah and others staying at St. John's Park tell NBC 26 they've been told to pack up their stuff and go when the park is open.
According to the Institute for Community Alliances, the most recent point-in-time count found that 558 people in Brown County are homeless.
Across the state, in total, there are 4,769 people who are homeless.