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'Let’s find solutions': Oshkosh advocates say unhoused people should not be excluded from spaces in the city

Posted at 9:49 PM, Jun 06, 2024

OSHKOSH (NB 26) — Community advocates in Oshkosh say a green space outside the Orrin King building, which sits near the courthouse and police station, is an important space for unhoused people.

So, they’re asking for more understanding from police and the community.

  • Activists say unhoused people should be able to stay in a green space outside the Orrin King building without consequences.
  • They say attempting to "move along" the unhoused people does not address the problem.
  • Police denied ticketing or attempting to remove unhoused people.

The local activist group ESTER is speaking out for the unhoused.
The group's name stands for empowerment, solidarity, truth, hope, equity, reform.

Leaders say vents near the Orrin green space help keep unhoused people warm and dry during all weather.

But, they said local police are trying to get the unhoused people to “move along” and leave the area. ESTER organizers also said some unhoused people reported getting tickets from law enforcement.

In a news conference Wednesday, advocates asked for more understanding for people who, they say, have nowhere else to go.

“Instead of the perpetual ‘keep moving, moving, moving,’ let’s find solutions,” ESTER organizer Miracle Wheeler said.

Major Pine, who is unhoused and said he's slept on the vents outside Orrin in the past, said he wants the community to help each other.

“Look out, you know, or have a heart," Pine said.

Oshkosh Police denied ticketing unhoused people or trying to remove them from the green space.

In a statement to NBC 26, they said, in part, “We have been working with other agencies and organizations for several years to assist Oshkosh’s homeless population.”

ESTER leaders said they hope to keep working with police and other groups to find long-term solutions.