By Melinda Anne Roberts
GREEN BAY – After being held over from the March 5 meeting, the Green Bay Common Council unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the Transformation House Monday, April 1.
The non-profit can now move forward at its new location at 433 N. Clay St., previously the Santa Maria Nursing Home.
Transformation House Director Pastor Manuelus Reacco said his team serves men determined to turn their lives around after a stint in a substance abuse rehab center or prison.
The men may also have had bouts with homelessness, relationship difficulties and a myriad of other hindrances to a productive, satisfying life.
The CUP caps the maximum number of individual residents at 46, and includes conditions that address concerns expressed by council members at the March 5 meeting regarding the shelter’s affect on area property values and crime rates.
Transformation House is required to work with the police department to run a mandatory background check on all potential residents.
Registered sex offenders are prohibited from staying there.
The facility may not operate an ongoing soup kitchen, but may on occasion hold “neighborhood outreach events” at the site.
Transformation House must submit a safety and security plan and provide exterior recording cameras, landscape and lighting, to be approved by the police department.
A report documenting police calls must be submitted quarterly to the council.
The CUP also states the Common Council, Plan Commission or development director may require a review of the facility at their discretion “to ensure compliance with this conditional use permit and identify any areas of concerns with the shelter facility.”
Further, the CUP is not transferrable and will be terminated immediately if the program is discontinued or the operation is dissolved.
Common Council Vice President and Alderperson Bill Galvin represents District 4, where Transformation House is located.
He said the facility is “more of a halfway house.”
Galvin said Reacco “runs a pretty tight ship.”
“The men have to have jobs, they have to pay rent, and hours are set as to when and how they have to do things,” Galvin said. “They are monitored regarding using drugs or alcohol.”
Galvin said Transformation House is “a place to reinvent yourself and get back on your feet and rejoin society.”
By issuing the CUP, the city has acknowledged that Reacco has met, or agrees to met, all the requirements and conditions.
All that is left is for the city inspectors to make sure everything is up to par.
Reacco said he is “focusing on getting everything approved so that we can open up as soon as possible. We have a wait list.”
He said he is expecting the facility “to fill up real fast.”
“I’m believing they can have all this stuff done this week so hopefully next week we can open, because we’re ready,” he said.
Reacco said he hopes to make the work of Transformation House move visible to the community and to “get out there a little more in the public.”
“Apparently there’s little awareness of who the Transformation House is, and we want everyone to know just what we do and what the need is,” he said.
Reacco said he has kept track of everything regarding the men who have transitioned through Transformation House.
“We have men connected back with their children, their wives, their families, back into society, and that’s what it’s all about,” Reacco said. “We want the people to know that it really works, the program.”
Reacco said the recidivism rate with the men who complete his program is 6 percent.
“We would like people to know we are not trying to combat this problem by ourselves,” Reacco said. “We would love it if we could get any type of community support as we move forward. The majority of funding and support comes from individuals who appreciate this type of ministry.”