Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wisconsin's Largest Homeless Shelter? Empty?

I have some good news today about Peter Gruenberg. Pete's story can be read in the recent post on your right titled Homeless in Oshkosh.

After being unceremoniously kicked out of Father Carr's Place 2B Shelter Pete walked to the Salvation Army on a bum leg. The Salvation Army put up Pete in a local motel for a couple of nights. Captain Johnny Harsh attempted to get Pete enrolled in a six month employment program that the Milwaukee Salvation Army runs. That program was full, there was an opening in the shelter at Appleton, and Captain Johnny personally drove Pete there. Captain Johnny talked with a representative of the Appleton Salvation Army some days ago and asked about Pete. Pete was no longer at the shelter. He found a job shortly after arriving in Appleton and moved into an apartment just days ago. A paycheck and a warm bed is a good ending, a bit bittersweet, but a Hell of a lot better than being under the bridge in Oshkosh.

I was asked to find Pete's address. I'll work on that. Regulars at American Family Table on Main want to keep in touch with him. I will bet Pete's still got the mustache!

There has been a buzz of activity in the last weeks regarding housing and the homeless. Mr. Rieckman from the Northwestern was already on the subject weeks back. The Northwestern had put out feelers to some members of the Winnebagoland Housing Coalition. My last blog struck a nerve with many readers including Mr. Rieckman. Congrats go to Alex Hummel for his series of articles on poverty. I'm looking forward to the Northwestern's investigation of Father Carr's Place 2B. I have given my personal info. to the Northwestern and offered to put them in touch with people who are really living 'on the edge'. They don't have phones, and frequently move from one person's sofa to another's basement. The people who are in these dire straits are our concern. (Will the residents of Appleton be accusing Oshkosh of 'dumping' their homeless there?)

Please note that six people were staying at Father Carr's last Tuesday. Also note that the Fond du Lac Shelter, the two Appleton shelters, and the shelter in Green Bay are busting at the seams. Need I say more?

Thanks goes to Miles McGuire at Oshkosh News who posted a link to Father Carr's tax return and named his Board of Directors on Oshblog. Tony Palmeri has a lot of traffic on his site and I truly appreciate that he has linked this blog. Both Tony and Miles asked me if Alex Hummel had contacted me. He still hasn't.

Unintended consequences...?

A side story worth mentioning is that several citizens in our community who don't read well and have extremely poor computer skills are suddenly taking an interest in reading, sharpening up their computer skills, and in some cases are even learning to post comments on blogs. This may not sound like much to you or I, but to them it is an absolute revelation that they can put their personal thoughts out to the community. The local Literacy Council should be smiling about this. I am.

I will continue to write on this subject. I don't feel enough is being done in the media. Oshkosh contains what quite possibly be the largest single homeless shelter in the state of Wisconsin. Underutilized is a nice word. It had six residents the other night. Check the place for lights when you drive by. Will the Post Crescent, the Journal Sentinel, or Madison's Capital Times beat the Northwestern to this story?


AngelAiken AKA Thee U.M.O.G said...

excellent gary, I will be waiting to see this in the paper!

Anonymous said...

I too have seen that Father Carr's does very little for the community. A friend of mine was kicked out of Father Carr's roughly two months ago. She has stayed with several friends, and has now been on my couch for an entire month. She is working part time, but apartments keep turning her down for not making enough money. She has an application in with the housing authority, but in the mean time, she is still on my couch. We cannot afford to house her any longer, but there is no where for us to send her.

Anonymous said...

Father Carr's Place to Be? Yeah Right? They just yesterday kicked three more people out on the streets and more to go today! Where are these people who have no homes and are looking for work and help to go? This place is to help people! Not kick them back out on the streets! It is a shame! And for what reasons? Not for any good reasons? Not for breaking any laws. For having a fishing pole or a can of food in their belongings? That they came in with in the first place? Come on? What kind of shelter is this? Now are they all going to go to other communities? What is going on here? I have donated to this shelter not only my time but my money and to see it being used like this is a dirty shame!