DE PERE - One of Brown County's college campuses is providing a temporary solution to one of the area's homeless issues.
Since late December, St. John's homeless shelter has been facing $500 fines for going over its Green Bay permit capacity of 64 overnight residents.
With students away on winter break, St. Norbert College has become a temporary home for the homeless.
"It's perfect timing and as a Catholic institution and St. John's being a Catholic parish, we're just thrilled that we can help out and do things together," said Rev. Jay Fostner, the Vice President for Student Affairs at St. Norbert.
Since December 21st, about 16 homeless people have been staying in the gym at the Pennings Activity Center. The people are brought over in a van from St. John's homeless shelter after it reaches its overnight permit capacity.
"The shelter is supplying everything, so it's just like staying at St. Johns," said Fostner. "They brought mats, blankets, pillows and then we have showers and facilities available for the guests when they arrive."
Including travel costs and extra staffing, the temporary solution is costing between $300 and $350 a night.
Students are set to return to class on January 22nd. Diocese officials say they know they'll have to find another temporary solution before then.
"It's freezing outside," said Fostner. "I don't know what people will do if they actually have to sleep in the cold....I have no doubt, they'll be able to figure this out."
In the meantime, St. Norbert and diocese leaders say they are working with De Pere officials to maintain the safety of housing the homeless on campus.
Green Bay officials maintain the fines facing St. John's shelter is about compliance rather than any amount of citation money. Both sides say they are still working together on a permanent solution.
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