ONEIDA RESERVATION, Wis. (WFRV) – A new homeless shelter is helping fill a void in Brown County.

“We are experiencing a lot of individuals that are on the streets, but probably much more than we’ve seen,” said Pearl Webster, Safe Shelter’s director.

A need that they say is continuing to grow in northeast Wisconsin, especially in the Green Bay area.

“Statistics show us actual numbers are rising,” Webster said. “The numbers in the Native American population are becoming greater.”

It is a dream seven years in the making for Webster. The nurse knew she had to do something to help.

“The plan is to get people out (of the shelter), get their resources together, their budgets, whatever it takes to help them be a real family in the real world,” she told Local 5’s Barrett Tryon.

Safe Shelter is unique in the fact it can host larger families, something many shelters don’t necessarily have the room for.

“I believe the Green Bay area in large needs more affordable housing,” Webster added.

She and others say they believe the housing crunch is creating a ripple effect.

“Having a bed is a first important step,” said Beverly Scow, Assistant Director of Wise Women Gathering Place. “Thirty-six percent of those that are homeless in Green Bay are Native American. So there is a very big disparity of people who are homeless being Native American.”

The shelter, at 2155 Hutson Rd., is set to officially open on Nov. 15. A critical time ahead of what can sometimes be a very brutal winter.

“This shelter is just such a gift to this community to create a little reprieve for people,” says Scow.

Safe Shelter said it is in need of donations, including the following:

  • Small shower benches
  • Shower caddies
  • Small foot stools
  • Rolling carts
  • Large garbage cans
  • Single, double bed sheets
  • Big push brooms
  • Dust mop sweeper
  • 13 small dressers (4-5 drawers)
  • 13 coat racks
  • Washable recliners
  • Washable sofas
  • Shelving

If you are interested in donating, you can do so in person at the shelter.