City Times Staff
The application for nighttime warming center located in downtown Stevens Point has been scrapped.
The center, proposed by Evergreen Community Initiatives, was to be located inside the Franciscans Downtown, an outreach ministry center located on Main Street, during overnight hours only. The center would cater to homeless individuals not currently accepted at other area shelters, to include intoxicated persons and sex offenders.
The group had intended to open the shelter in early Nov., but did not obtain the necessary permit from the city in time. The temporary housing proposed by the group was not a permitted use in the retail space.
“ECI has decided to withdraw its application for a temporary warming center at Franciscans Downtown during the 2015-2016 winter season,” the group said in a Friday press release. “ECI, working with the City of Stevens Point and other community leaders and groups, will focus on working toward a permanent warming center location.”
Joel Besemer from ECI said that permanent location has not yet been chosen, but should be close to public transportation and preferably, near a restaurant.
Besemer added the upgrades required to bring the space up to code for temporary housing weren’t financially feasible. The group’s fundraising is ongoing, he said.
The proposal created a lengthy discussion during the November city council meeting, with overwhelming support of the concept but heavy opposition to location. Several downtown business owners said an influx of homeless individuals would promote loitering and prompted safety concerns.
The application can still be found on the agenda for Monday’s council meeting, but it was not immediately clear if a representative from the group would attend.
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