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First Step Pending Closure: What's Next?

Kenosha---Several groups appear ready to figure out how to fill the vacuum that’ll be left by the pending closure of a low-barrier homeless shelter.

First Step Director Tracy Krisor indicated this week that she won’t fight the city’s order to pull the center’s operating license.

The shelter, located on 63rd Street near Kenosha Hospital, has had a running battle with some of its neighbors. In addition, some aldermen claimed that the agency failed to follow through on implementing some operational changes that it had promised.  Groups that are involved in homelessness issues in Kenosha include CUSH---Congregations United to Serve Humanity--- and the Emergency Services Network, a coalition of non-profits and government agencies.

For the moment, the people who rely on First Step for overnight shelter are nervous, according to First Step spokesman Bob Waldron.

Waldron says he hopes the Shalom Center will relax its standards for admission. Shalom is Kenosha’s only remaining homeless shelter.

Meanwhile, First Step’s founder and director, Tracy Krisor is said to be recovering in a Milwaukee hospital following surgery for an unknown ailment. At a city committee meeting two weeks ago, Krisor said health concerns were one reason that she’d been considering closing First Step.

The agency operates entirely on private donations and does not receive financial support from any governmental agencies. Unlike the Shalom Center, First Step will take in almost anyone, even if they're under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

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