CREATED Jul. 2, 2013
GREEN BAY- A battle of wills between St. John's Homeless Shelter and the mayor of Green Bay has things at a stand still.
During a meeting Monday night the Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt proposed a new organization to work with St. John's, but the shelter says that's not what's happening at all.
The proposed solutions to Green Bay's homeless problem is creating some backlash. The mayor wants to team up with Freedom Life Skills to battle the issue and he's looking to start with St. John's Homeless Shelter, but the shelter sees it more as a complete takeover.
The mayor spoke in a meeting Monday night about a changing of the guard at St. John's Homeless Shelter. Allowing Freedom Life Skills, a counseling center, to operate the shelter 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
"If we could get them to partner with the St. John's facility I think that could be a big step in the right direction to end homelessness here," said Mayor Jim Schmitt.
St. John's operators are speaking out today saying they have no problem working with another company, but that's not what the offer is.
"That group is not looking to come along side and support the work of St. John's, but that group would be coming in to look to replace the ministry of St. John's," said Alexia Wood, the executive director for St. John's Homeless Shelter.
However, Freedom Life Skills says they can offer a piece to this puzzle not currently in place, counseling, to help people get off the streets.
"That's where we want to come in and not just give them a place to stay temporarily, but to bring in a program that could help bring healing and deal with the woundedness," said Gary LaFave, the executive director for Freedom Life Skills.
As this debate continues over how to fix Green Bay's homeless problem, one thing will remain the same.
"St. John's is not going to go anywhere. We will open our doors in November," said Wood.
Freedom Life Skills says they hope to continue to offer counseling to homeless individuals and they would like to work with St. John's, however the shelter says until a collaborative offer is on the table they will not agree to anything.