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Regional shelters unveil new collaboration to combat homelessness

Posted at 5:20 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 18:22:05-05

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — A coalition of Brown County shelters has unveiled a new initiative designed to increase awareness that safe shelter is available in the region before individuals are in an emergency situation.

Representatives from five nonprofits are getting the word out that regional shelters have capacity and want to provide rooms, safety, food and resources to meet the needs of the multiple demographics hit by homelessness. Participating organizations are Freedom House Ministries, Golden House, House of Hope, NEW Community Shelter and St. John’s Ministries.

Together, these organizations provide a support system for anyone in a crisis situation or experiencing housing instability.

"The shelters that are here today are very collaborative and are really working together to make sure that everybody in the community is served," said Shannon Wienandt, House of Hope Green Bay executive director. "It might be a different demographic and people with different backgrounds and people who have different needs, and all the shelters come together to make sure that everybody is supported and everybody in the community has a place to be and safe off the streets and in a shelter when they need help."

Leaders report that housing needs are more critical in winter months and since the eviction moratorium expired in October, evictions are rising. In addition, the stress of the holiday season can be a tipping point for individuals who are staying with friends or relatives in temporary arrangements. Leaders from the organizations say that being homeless is a temporary situation and does not have to define individuals or a family.

"I really hope that people in our community understand that they have and can access the resources if they need them," Wienandt said. "I hope people understand that they can call anyone of these shelters to receive support and that we work closely together. So, if you call one place and they don't have the resources at that time to help, they’ll help you get connected to the next shelter."

Each of the participating organizations offers shelter and these additional services:
· Freedom House Ministries accepts families.
· Golden House provides safety and support for individuals experiencing domestic violence.
· House of Hope provides emergency shelter for youth and families.
· NEW Community Shelter provides provides adults from Brown County year-round emergency shelter as well as support and guidance to help solve homeless issues including, but not limited to, alcohol/drug addictions and mental heath.
· St. John’s Ministries provides shelter for adult men and women.

The individual organizations have collaborated to provide a streamlined process for anyone seeking shelter. Information is aggregated on one website at shelterGB.org to make it easy for anyone in a crisis situation to get answers.