Green Bay’s downtown homeless shelter is operating like normal with no sign that city officials are enforcing new occupancy limits.
But the facility’s future is anything but certain.
Officials from both sides met privately Friday to discuss potential ways to resolve a dispute over occupancy limits at St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter, 411 St. John St.
Mayor Jim Schmitt has objected that the shelter is accepting more than 80 residents nightly while its city permit, the mayor contends, limits the operation to 64 residents.
The city last week notified St. John that it could be cited for violating its permit. Schmitt then agreed to hold off on any such enforcement action until after a winter storm had passed on Thursday.
In a joint statement issued following Friday’s meeting, city and shelter officials said they had discussed possible solutions, but that the matter would “require additional work.”
“We are committed to working together for the benefit of the individuals served by the shelter and the community,” the statement read.
St. John’s shelter, which is open daily from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. between November and April, had 82 guests for emergency overnight accommodations starting Thursday night. Shelter officials contend that city officials approved an operating plan that allows the facility to accommodate up to 84 guests during peak demand times.
In the joint statement, the only reference to potential city citations against the shelter was that the “possibility of enforcement action” still exists.
City officials declined to comment further in the statement.
Officials of the Diocese of Green Bay, which operates the shelter, issued another statement indicating that the shelter was operating normally.
Deacon Tim Reilly, the shelter president, also extended an apology to Schmitt for previous statements that mayor had lost “leadership credibility” on the issue. Reilly said he hoped the diocese and city could work together to resolve their differences about the shelter.
“There are complex issues ahead of us as we, as a community, face this growing issue of homelessness,” Reilly said in the statement. “We will use this time to work diligently to work out the issues.”
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