All Seasons Transformation expands
By Kevin Damask
GREEN BAY – Realizing the need to support men going through difficult times, especially in the wake of a global pandemic, the We All Rise African American Resource Center has expanded its services with a new location and identity to provide residential services for all men needing a helping hand.
All Seasons Transformation recently opened its doors at 430 S. Clay St. in Green Bay.
Built in 1927, the red-brick building originally called St. Mary’s Nurses Home eventually became a hospital, followed by the Santa Maria Nursing Home.
All Seasons Transformation, a non-profit organization, formed in 2019 as We All Rise felt the increase in homelessness in the Green Bay area needed to be addressed.
The new residential facility houses 49 beds, serving men of all ages with “support, safety and advocacy.”
Guests can participate in various programs including advocacy and case management, life skill development and support, holistic health and wellbeing as well as emotional and mental health support.
“Our mission and vision statement specifically lists working with survivors to access housing,” said Rachel Westenberg, strategic communications and marketing director for We All Rise African American Resource Center. “Our agency has done that in a wide variety of ways, whether that’s individual advocacy with landlords, building relationships and offering courses like rent support to survivors.”
Through the past couple years, as the effects of COVID-19 have spread, more men have found themselves struggling with homelessness.
All Seasons Transformation provides temporary housing and support to find employment that could lead to permanent housing.
“We’re just beginning to see that unhoused homeless population rise,” Westenberg said. “From our local data in Brown County, we’ve seen an increase of 235% unhoused homeless folks from last year at this time.”
From Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, We All Rise served 1,120 individuals at its resource center, providing information and referral services, personal advocacy/accompaniment, emotional support or safety and criminal/civil justice system assistance.
Believing Green Bay needed a larger home to help men in need, We All Rise filed a conditional use and CUP amendment with the city on Nov. 1.
Robin Scott, executive director of We All Rise, said the program received a workforce grant last year to help purchase computers and equipment for guests to utilize as they work to build job skills.
“Although our focus population is African Americans, we find that individuals from all different backgrounds and walks of life feel safe and supported in our holistic healing programs,” Scott wrote to the City of Green Bay Plan Commission. “We will continue to have 24-hour security and maintain a quiet, clean and meditative environment where men in our shelter program feel invested in and valued.”
Along with safe housing, programming at All Seasons Transformation offers opportunities for men to reduce recidivism, relapse and healthy ways to foster independent living.
As staff and guests grow comfortable with the facility on Clay Street, Westenberg said the key focus of 2023 will be working to settle into the building as the program welcomes more men in need.
“Residential services are a new expansion for us,” Westenberg said. “Our leadership is really clear that we don’t want to rush the process. We want to assure that we’re offering these transitional living services in the best holistic, safest way we can for men in our community and that includes programming, safety plans, even in-take processes.”
As of Dec. 28, 33 men were in programming at All Seasons Transformation.
In the coming months, the 96-year-old facility will undergo some maintenance and upgrades, but Westenberg said it won’t affect guest services.
“Being in an older building, there are quite a few things we have to work through in the next few weeks and some of those have been more unexpected than others,” Westenberg said. “Right now, we’re trying to get the boiler in the building replaced. Within a couple of weeks, it could be out. It’s just one of those unexpected bumps in transition that we’re looking to the community to help with those things.”
All Seasons Transformation welcomes food and monetary donations, along with volunteer help to keep programs running smoothly.
For more information, go to weallriseaarc.org.
Going forward, staff members are excited to make the Clay Street facility a welcoming home to men struggling to find a positive environment.
“We have some really incredible guys here who are going through some sort of transition, whether it’s starting their journey toward sobriety or other devastating things that happen in life,” Westenberg said. “It’s incredible to see the community that forms here. The ways in which the guys participate is just incredible to see and we’re excited to see more of that over the next couple of months and continue to build that safety for these men.”