By Brandi Makuski
Plan commissioners on Tuesday gave early approval to for a downtown church to operate as a homeless warming center during the winter months.
Working with the Church of the Intercession, Evergreen Community Initiatives has secured a new overnight site for up to 12 homeless people during the colder months of the year. The city plan commission approved using the church for a one-year trial run as a temporary shelter.
Tiffany Krueger from ECI called the site a “perfect location”.
“It’s right near downtown, but not right in the center of downtown Stevens Point,” Krueger said. “We’re really looking forward to it.”
Krueger and others at ECI had previously attempted to open a warming shelter in the Franciscans Downtown storefront on Main St., but abandoned those plans last December after problems with the site.
Police Chief Marty Skibba told the commission last year his department typically encounters two-to-five homeless individuals each winter, and said no one in need has ever been turned away in his 24 years on the force.
The downtown shelter will have a few rules, Krueger said, to include check-in and check-out times, no alcohol or drugs, and occupants’ personal belongings will be locked up while they sleep.
Krueger said the group worked with 97 “unsheltered” people in Stevens Point last year, and this year have already worked with 31 such individuals. The group is anticipating serving two-to-six people in need of shelter during this winter.
Krueger added ECI is continuing their fundraising efforts to help support the proposed shelter.
“We are needing new recliners yet, and there’s going to be other odds and ends, but mostly, it’s going to be fundraising for the necessities that we have yet to gather,” she said.
The warming shelter still needs final approval from the full city council, which meets later this month.
The Church of the Intercession is located at 1417 Church Street.