GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — One woman’s dream to open a new shelter for the homeless, and their families, is becoming a reality many years later.
Pearl Webster is the Executive Director for Safe Shelter, which is expected to open in October in Green Bay.
It’s located at 2155 Hutson St., near Highway 41 and Mason Street.
“It was about 2014 when we first started talking about the concern in the community,” Webster said. That’s when she knew she had to do something.
As a now-retired registered nurse, she said she saw first-hand the effect homelessness was having in Green Bay, but more specifically for those in Oneida Nation.
“We started exploring vacant buildings in the Oneida Nation — and one of the people in our group is from DPW, and she stepped up, and offered up this building,” she said.
The building will have more than a dozen rooms, of all different sizes, to help accommodate both single people and larger families.
It also offers up private showers, restrooms, and laundry facilities, along with a huge kitchen and private pantry area where families can keep food locked up.
That is a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to helping people get back on their feet.
“If you don’t have a place to call home at night, it’s very difficult to run the rest of your life,” Safe Shelter’s Assistant Director Sara Williams said.
In addition to monetary donations, with winter around the corner, the shelter says it is always in need of things like hats, mittens, and gloves.
The shelter said there’s also a reason it’s being called the “Safe Shelter.” It wanted to break the stigma of what being “homeless” means.
“Unless if you’ve been there and actually have been a part of this community, that population, yeah it’s easy to say ‘yeah, you can get a job,'” said Webster. “But not everyone has the ability or the resources or even their own personal self worth to go out to strive and struggle to get what they want.”
The pandemic has created a few problems with getting building materials ordered and installed on time. As of now, the shelter says it plans to be open sometime later next month.
If you’d like to help donate money, or drop off supplies, a drive is running through Sept. 30. You can learn more on how to donate here.