County secures more money for homeless shelter in Port

Additional state funding will cover higher than expected cost of facility
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Plans for a homeless shelter to be built in Port Washington took a step forward Tuesday as the Ozaukee County Human Services Board unanimously approved awarding a $1.5 million contract for the work to KPH Construction Corp.

The bid is $525,000 more than the budget for the project, but state grants will cover the difference, Jason Wittek, the county’s policy and budget analyst, told the board.

Without the state funding, he said in a letter to the state, “it will be difficult for Family Promise of Ozaukee County to complete the emergency homeless shelter.”

Bids from both KPH Construction and American Construction Services exceeded the budget, Wittek said. 

The overrun is due to the fact that construction costs have skyrocketed in the past year, he said.

The board approved an amended agreement with Family Promise of Ozaukee County that reflects the fact that the state grant is now for $2.3 million.

“I’m just glad we were able to go back and get the additional money,” Supr. Kathlyn Geracie, chairman of the board, said.

Wittek said the county will sign the needed paperwork with the state this week, paving the way for the project.

“We’re looking forward to getting the project started,” Kathleen Fisher, CEO of Family Promise of Ozaukee County, said. “I think it’s going to be a good project for Ozaukee County.”

Supr. Alice Read, a member of the board, added, “It’s really important to Ozaukee County.”

The shelter, to be called the Portlight shelter, will be created and operated by Family Promise in a former day care center at the corner of Sunset Road and Highway LL.

The day care building will be renovated and two wings added onto the structure to accommodate the shelter, which would house as many as 20 people at a time, officials have said. Those housed at the shelter would be there for a maximum 30 days and must participate in weekly case management meetings aimed at getting them back on their feet.

Family Promise has been helping the homeless in Ozaukee County for the past five years, initially housing clients at area churches.

But with the Covid-19 pandemic that model didn’t work, so the agency rented 10 rooms at a local motel for people in need, officials said earlier this year.

In 2020, Family Promise served 56 households — 23 families and 33 individuals — and by late June 2021 had served 30 households, including 11 families and 19 individuals.

In addition, through the end of May this year it had provided $501,500 in utility and rent assistance to 105 households through the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which is intended to help people whose income was affected by the pandemic.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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