Foundations For Living’s request for a special use permit to open a seasonal warming shelter will go before the Waupaca Common Council in March.
The city’s Plan Commission recommended approval of the request when it met on Wednesday, Feb. 11.
Its recommendation includes the warming shelter being a pilot program for a one-year trial period.
Robin Madson, of Foundations for Living, said the warming shelter would be open from October through April.
The guest hours would be 9 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
Plans call for the shelter to be staffed by two shifts of volunteers: the first shift from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and the second from 2-8 a.m.
The nonprofit agency wants to operate the shelter within its current facility, which is located at 1421 Churchill St.
Foundations For Living moved into that building in December of 2013.
Madson said during the trial period, there would be no more than 12 people staying at the shelter. All would be age 18 or over.
“We see a lot of people come in. There is a perceived need of a shelter. We want to see if they use it,” she said.
Madson originally requested a special use permit in January 2014 to open a warming shelter there.
The request was the subject of a public hearing last year.
After some neighboring business owners expressed concerns about the idea, the city’s Plan Commission tabled action on the request, saying it wanted more information about how such shelters operate in other communities.
Madson and her team spent the last year doing their research.
Brennan Kane, the city’s development director, told the Plan Commission that Madson created a task force of individuals from the community.
Kane met with individuals who operate a similar facility in Appleton and passed on documents to Madson related to its policies and procedures.
Madson reached out to Foundations For Living’s neighbors through a community open house and individual visits to educate them about the agency’s proposal.
Kane said the Feb. 11 Plan Commission agenda went out to all who were notified a year ago about the nonprofit’s proposal.
Madson also told the Plan Commission the building Foundations For Living is in is now owned by Jackie Barrett.
She said Barrett is aware of what the agency wants to do and supports it.
In addition, Madson said the back taxes, which had been due on the building, were paid.
During last week’s meeting, Mayor Brian Smith asked, “What did you do that changed or has satisfied them tonight that they’re not here?”
None of the neighboring businesses attended the Feb. 11 meeting.
Madson said when she met with them, she listened to them and addressed any concerns they had.
In addition, she believes Foundations For Living established credibility.
“We’ve been in the building a year now. They have seen people coming and going, some who may use a warming shelter,” Madson said.
She noted the agency does not have the potential to expand at its current location.
“We can look at other options as we go foward,” Madson said. “Once people see the need, they may be more willing to help.”