Connecting People with Purpose
St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter (SJEHS) provides night-to-night temporary emergency shelter to adult men and women. St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter believes in meeting each guest right where they are at. Programs and services are then offered in the context of the furtherance of human dignity to assist each guest in goal attainment and self-sufficiency.
Admission Criteria for St. John’s Homeless Shelter
- Must have no other housing options at time of presentation
- 18 years of age or older
- Registered sex offenders are not able to reside at St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter due to our close proximity to a school
- Police will be notified of any individual with an outstanding warrant
- Individual must be able to provide complete self care
- Anyone with self- reported or documented, untreated, active TB will not be allowed into shelter until proof of medical clearance is provided
- Individual must agree to a criminal background check, notification of law enforcement, Department of Corrections and specific service agency contacts
- Individual must be willing to provide complete intake information
- Individuals staying for their first night of the season must check in at Shelter by 2:00 AM
Programs Available at St. John's Homeless Shelter
Between the Micah Center and St. John’s Shelter, 4 full time Case Managers provide advocacy and support. Each guest staying at the shelter is required to meet with their assigned Case Manager to assess his or her needs/barriers and then create goals to meet those needs. Although the ultimate goal is to obtain housing, smaller goals are sometimes set prior to focusing on this. For example, if an individual does not currently have income, employment options may need to be explored prior to seeking housing options. In addition, referrals to community resources may occur at this time to assist. Finally, guests are encouraged to attend workshops held by Case Management at the Micah Center. The topics are designed to educate on subjects related to self-sufficiency and strengthen the outcomes of goals that might be set.
The CommUNITY Mentorship program matches mentors one-on-one with a mentee who is either currently residing at St. John’s Shelter or has recently transitioned into housing. Matches, paired based on interests and hobbies, meet at the shelter, Micah Center or out in the community to discuss life goals, dreams and struggles.
Donations of gift cards fund this program so mentors can pour into the life of a brother or sister without incurring a financial burden. Group activities are also scheduled for mentors, mentees, shelter staff and applicants to engage in community activities together.
A one year commitment is requested from mentors and mentees.
Summer Safe Sleep (COTS) ensures no homeless person is forced to sleep out on the streets in an unsafe situation. While not a housing option, Summer Safe Sleep is a place for someone to come to be physically safe on a given night. It operates during the days St. John’s Homeless Shelter is not in operation (May 1 through October 31st).
How is Summer Safe Sleep different than the Shelter season?
This program offers only a safe, dry place to sleep at night and does not include the full services offered during our shelter season. No showers, meals, laundry or on-site case management is offered. Drop-in Tuesdays and Micah Center do address some of these needs.
Who is served?
This program provides overnight shelter (9:00 PM to 6:30 AM) to homeless adults in our community who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets. Homeless guests verify they have no other housing options, and the program is run at St. John’s Shelter at 411 St. John St. in Green Bay.
How will guests be helped?
The Micah Center will be open Monday-Friday to provide case management, breakfast, workshops, and resources to help someone on their journey to self-sufficiency.
How did COTS start?
COTS began in May of 2018 as a partnership with local churches who opened their doors to our guests, rotating to a different church every 1-2 weeks. This program helped us respond to a dire need for summer shelter, providing over 1,000 nights of safe sleeping at local churches. In July 2018 at the request of the Green Bay Fire Department, we were granted permission from the city to move the summer COTS program to St. John’s Shelter. The Fire Department felt that the shelter would be a preferred location since it is already designed for overnight shelter services. As our greatest referral source, the Green Bay Police Department has told us how grateful they are for this ministry. They are now thankful to have one place to consistently tell patrol officers they can rely on when engaging with someone experiencing homelessness. Because of how our church community stepped-in to help make COTS a reality, we were able to get to the point where we are today, and we are forever thankful for their generosity and support for our homeless brothers and sisters.
Contact us at the Micah Center 920-617-8700 to learn more.
St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter was started as a harm reduction site for individuals not eligible for other mainstream shelters. Many times, these individuals were not eligible for other shelters due to criminal backgrounds, drug and alcohol addictions and/or mental health barriers. While the shelter has evolved significantly since its inception, it remains true to its mission of being a shelter for those that otherwise would be on the streets of Green Bay.
As a harm reduction site, individuals can seek shelter services as long as they are able to provide complete self-care. However, if individuals come in under the influence of drugs or alcohol they must attend a Positive Choices meeting the following morning prior to exiting shelter for the day.
The Positive Choices meeting looks to help individuals plan out their day in a way that will lead to more positive outcomes for them that evening. Co-facilitated by a community member, residents of the Sobriety Room can aide in the facilitation of these meetings which are offered all 180 days the shelter is open.
In addition to the Positive Choices meeting, an AODA counselor is on-site to provide individual counseling and group services to individuals. The sobriety room is an option for those actively maintaining their sobriety.
In 2013, shelter management recognized the need to support employed homeless individuals. Many guests of the shelter secure employment on 2nd or 3rd shift. When their shifts are complete, shelter guests are forced to walk back to the shelter, in the middle of winter, because buses do not run after 10pm. With a 6am wake up call, these guests were going through the day exhausted and depleted while trying to get ahead.
The employment room offers employed guests the opportunity to have a small piece of “home” while saving their income to move into their own apartment. Guests are able to keep their beds made, so they can climb right in when returning to the shelter at late hours. Additionally, they actually have their own bed instead of a mat on the floor. They can sleep in past 6am, given they exit the shelter by 9am, so they are prepared to be successful in their places of employment. The living arrangements are quieter and more comfortable to ensure a quality night sleep.
All guests are actively working with a case manager on saving income and transitioning out of shelter through one of the shelter’s housing programs.
In 2014 the shelter introduced the Guest Internship program after recognizing that guests were putting forth tremendous effort to secure employment and work towards goals but were facing significant barriers in the process. While conducting a needs assessment, shelter staff also learned that guests struggled to transition from a supportive living environment at St. John’s Shelter to complete independence.
The guest internship program offers past guests of the shelter an opportunity to apply for one of five one-year job coaching placements within the ministries of St. John’s Homeless Shelter and The Micah Center. Guests become paid employees of the shelter while receiving ongoing case management services, access to food and clothing and housing assistance.
Goals of the program include:
- Increased job skills
- Positive local work reference
- Recent work history
If a guest successfully completes the guest internship program, they are then eligible to apply for a support staff position the following shelter season. Case management is actively assisting interns in applying for and establishing permanent employment at a local organization as well.
Case management works with clients on a variety of goals with housing being a major goal for each guest enrolled in shelter programs. In addition, case managers work with area landlords to educate them on the benefits of the housing programs offered through St. John’s. There are a variety of housing programs and services available in the community depending on an individual’s age, situation, income source and treatment.
If an individual is literally homeless (spent the night prior in a homeless shelter or living in a place not meant for human habitation), they may qualify for the federally funded Rapid Rehousing program. Rapid Rehousing is a designed to help individuals and families exit homelessness as quickly as possible, move to permanent housing, and achieve stability in that housing. The program provides financial assistance as well as case management services throughout the duration of the program to assist with becoming self-sufficient. In Brown County, St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter serves individuals for the Rapid Rehousing program while House of Hope serves families.
In addition, each individual presenting to shelter will be encouraged to complete and submit a Housing Choice Voucher application to Integrated Community Solutions (ICS). Often referred to as Section 8, this program is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is designed to help individuals and families afford housing. HUD also funds a Supportive Housing Program (SHP) through Forward Service Corporation that assists homeless individuals and families secure quality housing. This program provides rental subsidies along with supportive case management.
Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin has Transitional Living Programs which are beneficial to the young adult population (ages 18-29). This program is combined with case management services designed to assist program participants to successfully live independently.
If an individual is a veteran and in need of housing services, there are a few additional housing resource options available. The US Department of Veteran Affairs has a veteran specific supportive housing program known as HUD-VASH which assists homeless veterans. Center for Veterans Issues (CVI) has a veteran specific Rapid Rehousing program along with Transitional Living Programs designed to move veterans beyond emergency shelters. Additionally, CVI has played a role in the recent opening of Veterans Manor in Green Bay, which is a low income supportive housing option for veterans.
Once an individual moves into their own apartment, Home Sweet Home, a ministry of Ascension Lutheran Church, donates and moves in the common furnishings a home would need such as a bed, living rooms furniture, kitchen supplies, linens, etc.
For more information on housing programs that may be able to assist you, please call St. John’s Homeless Shelter or The Micah Center.
While no religious practices are required to receive services at St. John’s Homeless Shelter, St. John’s provides a nightly ministerial presence for those looking to engage in conversation or seek prayer.
The “men and women in the blue vests” are on-site to be a listening ear and encouragement to anyone looking to talk. The ministry volunteers can address issues of faith and of life, pray with guests, and answer any questions a guest may present.
It’s another way St. John’s is looking to care for the whole person.
Every Tuesday morning service providers offer free services to shelter guests in the gymnasium of St. John’s Shelter. This allows guests to meet with multiple providers in one, convenient location. Providers include:
- Brown County Mental Health
- Case Workers
- FSET (Foodshare and Employment Training) Program
- MORE Program
- Mental Health Therapist/AODA Counselor
- Nurse Prescriber
- Outreach Healthcare
- General Physician
- Medical Case Managers
- Nurse Practioner
- PATH Street Outreach Program
- Veterans Benefits
In February 2013, the shelter had two classrooms that were sitting empty as management engaged in conversations with the city. A brief conversation amongst staff identified a need for separate living space for individuals actively working on their recovery. It had been determined that individuals in recovery were struggling on the gym floor when they would see someone that they used to engage in their addiction with or be surrounded with the noise/chaos that can come with an emergency shelter.
On a whim, the shelter moved five men into the sobriety living area (the two empty classrooms) and all five men were able to maintain their sobriety through the end of the shelter season. Management looked at each other with raised eyebrows and asked the obvious question: ”What did we just do?”
At the time, an answer to that question was not available but the shelter decided to build on its success. Furniture companies donated a living space and bunk beds were donated by a generous supporter. Bathroom and shower facilities were installed in this living space as well. In the fall of 2013 the Sobriety Room opened again and was met with great results.
Individuals that had struggled with addiction were suddenly experiencing periods of absolute sobriety. And then the answer to the summer’s question came when a sobriety room guest stated, “I finally have hope. You all believe in me and I’m starting to believe in myself.”
Guests of the sobriety room must maintain their sobriety, actively participate in daily Positive Choices meetings, attend groups and individual counseling with the AODA counselor, and lead within the shelter.
In 2014, St. John’s introduced the St. John’s Gives Back campaign. The shelter provides the materials and supplies necessary for guests to utilize their artistic skills and abilities to create artwork, jewelry and woodwork to sell to shelter supporters.
Guests are then able to nominate a nonprofit to receive the money raised from the annual campaign. Shelter guests nominated an elementary school anti-bullying campaign to receive nearly $600 after identifying that they “know what it’s like”.
Though the seasonal shelter closes on April 30th, the shelter offers summer drop-in services each Tuesday for past guests of the shelter. Open from 8:30 AM until 2:30 PM, the following services are available to past guests:
- Case Management
- Hygiene Products
- Laundry Services
- Meals (Continental Breakfast and Lunch)
- Service Providers
In addition, The Micah Center is open year-round.
Every other Wednesday a shelter-wide guest meeting is held. These meetings are a chance for staff to relay important information to guests, receive feedback from guests, and celebrate in the success of guests as it relates to employment, housing and sobriety.
During these guest meetings, the Volunteer Program is stressed. Many in the community work hard to provide for the needs of the guests served at St. John’s. We ask that guests look to give back to a community that does so much to serve the shelter. Guests that complete an average of 8 hours per week or more at a nonprofit organization of their choosing (outside of the walls of St. John’s Homeless Shelter) are eligible for a monthly bus pass.
The goals of this program are multi-faceted:
- Gain current work experience/work reference for their job search
- Gain work skills
- Give back to the greater Green Bay community
- Increase one’s sense of value and purpose
In exchange, the bus pass will:
- Improve transportation to and from the work site
- Extend one’s ability to look for work outside of the downtown area
- Offer guests an alternative to walking to appointments and resources