GREEN BAY - Green Bay's Somali population was booming when we first did our story two years ago. Schools had seen a huge influx of Somali students. Two years later, things have drastically changed.
Green Bay public schools went from 220 Somali students in 2011 down to 100.
Howard-Suamico had 48 Somali students two years ago. At the end of last year, there were just 23.
When asked why so many Somalis are leaving Green Bay, Abdul Nur replied, "I would say number one would be jobs."
Nur is one of the Somali interpreters in the Green Bay school district. The district went from three interpreters to two because of the drop in Somali students.
FOX 11 asked Nur if he was surprised by the sharp drop in Somali students.
"In a way, yeah, people came and left," Nur said. "People are going but I'm not surprised because that's the culture, who we are. You come to Green Bay; you get a little education and go, okay, where can I take my kids now?"
Firdosa Hussein, who moved to Green Bay nearly three years ago, says some families left because they didn't feel welcome in the community.
"Green Bay is such a wonderful place and it does have the opportunity to grow if we welcome diverse communities," Hussein said. "I think right now we're lacking that open arms to the outsiders."
Where are Somali families going? We asked Kourtney Feldhausen, who works closely with Somali families in the Howard-Suamico School District.
"None of them went to Green Bay. They kept going out of state whether it was Minnesota, back to California out east a little bit," Feldhausen said.
Feldhausen says her district ended an after-school program for Somali students and let one interpreter go. While there are nine new Somali students this year, the total is still much lower than two years ago.
Feldhausen says families have told her several reasons for leaving including a lack of public transportation, a lack of jobs and a lack of family support.
"Like anyone, when you've got the rest of the family in another community, do you go back and be with the rest of your family or do you stay here?" Feldhausen said.
Feldhausen says some families have also told her they're leaving because of the federal low-income housing program, often known as Section 8. One feature of the program is that once a family receives housing assistance they can move anywhere in the country.
"It is an issue," Feldhausen said. "And it's not just an issue with our Somali families. It's an issue with families in general but yes, I've seen it with families."
Here's how it works: Once a family moves to the area and applies for housing assistance, they're put on a six to 12 month waiting list. As soon as a family gets assistance they can move anywhere.
Earlier this year, FOX 11 On Special Assignment highlighted the program.
Our investigation found that nearly one out of every 10 people receiving housing assistance from Brown County actually lives somewhere else.
At the time, housing officials told us it's not just one particular group doing it.
"It's not one population; it's not one demographic," said Patrick Leifker from Integrated Community Solution. "It is an across-the-board type kind of thing where anyone can do it and world travels fast. They know the program guidelines. They know the regulations and they have every right to do so."
Somalis still living in Green Bay don't think the housing program is the main reason people are leaving.
Firdosa Hussein and her friend, Anisa Hussein, say Somali people are trying to find a place to call home.
"Everybody has the option of staying where they feel like they belong," Firdosa Hussein said. "Unfortunately, there have been a great number of people who have left in a very short period of time which creates."
"A huge ordeal," continued Anisa Hussein. "Why did they come and then at the same time they just disappeared? It's just like everybody else. Somebody will come and they might like it here or they might not and just say I'm going to leave and go back to where I came from or maybe go back elsewhere."
While Green Bay's Somali community may be smaller than it was two years ago, these women say it is here to stay.
After almost 80 years, a piece of naval history is on its way home. A model of the Japanese luxury liner Hikawa Maru is being packed up in Manitowoc and returned to Japan.
Visitors to Green Bay's Neville Public Museum will soon see hours slashed. The county-owned attraction is cutting access starting the first of the year.
An 11-foot-long model of the Japanese passenger liner Hikawa Maru is being sent back to Japan after 34 years at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc.
Area volunteers are making a difference in the community this holiday season. At this time of the year, many people are looking for ways to help their neighbors. The Salvation Army is one of the many places where you can do just that.
For the second year in a row, St. Norbert College could house overflow of homeless people from the St. John the Evangelist shelter in Green Bay.
A memorial fund has been created for a Grand Chute firefighter killed in a weekend car crash.