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The Hospitality Center, an organization that provides care to those in need or underserved in Racine, is looking to expand their services, but they would have to meet several conditions first.

Located at 614 Main Street, the organization is housed inside St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. The center is looking to expand their days and hours of operation. But in order to do that, they must comply with some requirements set forth by the City of Racine.

A permit was approved in 2012 for the center to be open three days a week, but it was not in compliance for a number of years before a new agreement was made. Under a new compromise between the Hospitality Center, City of Racine and downtown businesses, the center has been given a specific set of conditions to comply with in order to extend its operations from four to five days a week.

According to a story in the Journal Times, the City Plan Commission said last week that if the Hospitality Center fulfills the conditions over the next seven months, then its request to expand their services may be approved. Here are the conditions:

  • Limiting hours of operation to Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
  • To prevent loitering and littering by having a monitor outside to tell people to either move inside or leave if they hang around for too long.
  • Restricting smoking to the south side of the building.
  • Having the monitor instruct guests to refrain from creating auditory pollution of any kind inside or outside of the building.
  • To instruct volunteers and staff not to “monopolize” parking spaces around the building.
  • Display “No loitering” signs.

“This would be a way to step forward that respects desires from the people in our neighborhood,” said Hospitality Center Executive Director Rev. Seth Raymond. He went on to say that after a meeting with nearby businesses and members of the Downtown Racine Corporation, he gained an understanding of the types of complaints regarding the Hospitality Center. The conditions to be met are in accordance with this feedback that was given at that meeting.

Program Director Carl Fields has been monitoring the sidewalks around the Hospitality Center, ensuring there is no loitering of any kind. He believes that the reason for the influx of homeless and unemployed people is due to a skills gap – not enough qualified workers or workers willing to train to become qualified.

He calls it a case of systemic oppression, specifically relating to cultural groupings such as racial gaps and poor graduation rates. However, most of the people they serve are not homeless or unemployed. Instead, they have an income, but not enough. The center serves roughly 100-150 people a day. Fields said there is a need for more places like the Hospitality Center.

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There are in fact other programs that assist the homeless and unemployed – one of them being HALO.  They too are seeing an increased need for services.

The vision of the Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization Inc. (HALO) is to provide homeless individuals and families in Racine County with emergency food, clothing, shelter, transitional and permanent housing, and other supportive services.

From July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, HALO served 90 people through its housing assistance program, and 800 people were provided shelter and supportive services, including 49,000 shelter nights and 147,000 meals. This is a considerable increase from previous years. From July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, 589 people were provided with shelter, 24,104 shelter nights, and 72,312 meals. From July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016, 608 people were provided with shelter, 21,396 shelter nights, and 64,188 meals.

There are other similar programs that exist to serve the homeless and unemployed. To find out more, contact the City of Racine. To donate to the Hospitality Center, please visit their website or contact them at (262) 853-2886. To donate to HALO, visit their website or contact them at (262) 633-3235.

To find out more about the history of the Hospitality Center, read the full story at the Journal Times.

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