Home should be a haven. A place to build memories, a place of belonging, a place to leave your worries behind.
But for some families, they are one missed rent or mortgage payment away from homelessness. Housing insecurity is a traumatic event for every person in a family and has measurable effects on education, health, and employment.
United Way’s Safe & Stable Homes is led by an advisory council of leaders in local government, public policy, legal, education, health, and housing sectors. Our results are measured in accordance with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Because of the work we’ve been doing with Safe & Stable Homes, we are on track to be the first community in the United States to end family homelessness. We are committed to reaching this goal by the end of 2023.
What are our successes so far?
- Thousands of families in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha County have used Safe & Stable Homes to prevent eviction or homelessness
- We have moved over 50 families from emergency shelter into their own home
- We are providing free legal representation in 1 out of every 4 eviction cases filed in Milwaukee County
- We have decreased the average length of time a family is homeless by 63% (from July 31, 2021, to July 31, 2022)
- The Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center has moved $100,000,000 in emergency rental assistance to 10,000 households
In 2022, we are funding the work of 22 organizations committed to ensure homelessness is prevented whenever possible, or if it can’t be prevented, it is a rare, brief, and one-time experience.
Meet the organizations:
Advocates of Ozaukee, Inc.
Program name/purpose: Safe and Stable Housing
Program description: Serves families from Ozaukee County with one month’s rent and/or security deposit. Additionally, they provide case management and follow up services when appropriate.
Program name/purpose: Flexible Housing – Community Case Management Program
Program description: Supports families with up to nine months of direct rent payments or other financial support (security deposit, purchase of appliances, application fees, utility payments, transportation, or urgent childcare support) to maintain safe housing. All families receive 12 months of ongoing case management.
Program name/purpose: Eviction Prevention & Housing Stabilization for Families
Program description: Provides short-term financial assistance for families at risk of, or experiencing homelessness referred through the Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center partners (Legal Aid Society, Legal Action, and Mediate Milwaukee) or the Milwaukee Continuum of Care Coordinated Entry system.
Program name/purpose: Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center
Program description: The Rental Housing Resource Center (RHRC) is a single physical and digital location for tenants or landlords regarding eviction prevention resources. RHRC is a collaboration of nine organizations: Apartment Association of Southeastern WI, Community Advocates, IMPACT, Hope House, Legal Action, Legal Aid Society, Mediate Wisconsin, City of Milwaukee Dept. of Neighborhood Services, and the Milwaukee County Housing Division.
Family Promise of Ozaukee County
Program name/purpose: Family Homeless Prevention
Program description: Serves a minimum of 30 households in both Ozaukee and Washington counties with up to $1,000 in rent assistance. Family Promise refers to other community organizations for wrap-around services to make sure client needs are being met.
Family Promise of Waukesha County
Program name/purpose: Emergency Housing Fund
Program description: Provides one month of rent, mortgage, and/or utility assistance for families with an urgent need. Case management will accompany all allocations. Family Promise will also offer Financial Stability seminars and build stronger connections to landlords.
Program name/purpose: Transitional Living Program
Program description: Provides rent assistance to the Washington County domestic violence/sexual abuse survivors in FRIENDS’ Transitional Living Program. Funds will be used to pay rent to clients’ landlords for 12 months while the client pays down their debt, participates in case management and classes on employment-related issues, parental skills, alcohol and drug abuse prevention, mental health counseling services, and other related issues.
Guest House of Milwaukee
Program name/purpose: Community Case Management
Program description: In partnership with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and in alignment with the Family Flex Fund, this grant will provide flexible financial assistance for community case managers covering security deposits, first month’s rent, monthly bus passes, moving expenses, move-in supplies, and food-related gift cards.
Program name/purpose: Residential Program (Maskani Place)
Program description: Maskani Place offers 37 units of permanent supportive housing in the Harambee neighborhood for families who have experienced homelessness. Case managers provide easily accessible, on-site supportive services.
Hope House of Milwaukee
Program name/purpose: Family Bonds Housing Program
Program description: Helps get families off the streets immediately by housing them in an on-site shelter while working to help them find an apartment of their own. While in the program, Hope House pays a portion (or in most cases, all) of participating families’ rent for up to two years while they receive wraparound supportive services.
Program name/purpose: Family Flex Fund Housing Case Manager
Program description: This additional case manager is dedicated to the Family Flex Fund program, speeding up the connection of families in shelter with the Flex Fund housing support. The Family Flex Fund provides progressive tiers of financial support and case management to families that would otherwise be using crisis services to avoid homelessness.
Program name/purpose: Family Flex Fund
Program description: Provides tiers of financial assistance and supportive case management to families that would otherwise be using crisis services to avoid homelessness. Fills gaps in federal assistance vouchers to families in shelter.
Legal Action of Wisconsin
Program name/purpose: Eviction Defense Project
Program description: Provides pro-bono, same-day legal representation for families in eviction cases in Milwaukee small claims court. In addition to legal representation, the Eviction Defense Project (EDP) advises tenants who only receive a notice terminating tenancy with no case filed, as well as assisting tenants with post-judgement matters, such as emergency stays of already ordered writs of eviction or motions to clarify CCAP records.
Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee
Program name/purpose: Eviction Free MKE
Program description: Provides free extended legal representation in the eviction case of every Milwaukee County household under 200% of poverty guidelines.
Program name/purpose:Housing SOS
Program description: Funds a housing attorney who plays a key role in ensuring residents stay out of eviction court and in their homes by addressing pre-filing matters, such as notices to quit or cure, security deposits, conditions of housing, and legal services. This housing attorney works with the City of Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services, Community Advocates, Legal Aid Society’s civil division, the Eviction Free MKE project, and Rental Housing Resource Center partners.
Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan
Program name/purpose: Waukesha Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program
Program description: Addresses the housing and case management needs of households eligible for Tenant Based Rental Assistance in Waukesha County. Participating households receive ongoing supportive services based on needs identified in their individualized service plans.
Metro Milwaukee Mediation Services (d/b/a Mediate Wisconsin)
Program name/purpose: Landlord-Tenant Mediation Program
Program description: Professional mediators deescalate tension between tenants and landlords, help them identify common interests or goals, connect with available financial and supportive services, and craft an individualized solution that makes sense to both parties. This grant serves households across Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, and Ozaukee counties and will focus on increasing awareness and access to Spanish-speaking households this grant cycle.
Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity
Program name/purpose: Homeowner Foreclosure Prevention
Program description: Serves 10 non-Habitat homeowners with foreclosure prevention funds in the neighborhoods of Amani, Harambee, Midtown, Park West, and Washington Park. Financial assistance is to help pay delinquent property taxes and delinquent water bills.
Our Community Ltd.
Program name/purpose: The Community Newsletter
Program description: Rental Housing Resource Center information and family homelessness resources will be included in The Community Newsletter distributed to over 10,000 individuals under the care of Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Every issue is put together by currently and formerly incarcerated individuals and their supporters and will be used as a trusted-messenger approach to disseminate family homelessness resources to low-income households.
Outreach Community Health Centers Inc.
Program name/purpose: Rapidly Re-Housing Families
Program description: Provides 123-129 units of housing to families with wraparound supportive case management. This grant will fund a Case Manager/Resource Specialist to work with parents willing to pursue education, training, and employment assistance resources, developing individualized plans for post-subsidy household self-sufficiency. It will also support a Children’s Advocate to serve the needs of children in the program.
Program name/purpose: Preventing Family Homelessness for Young Adults
Program description: Offers person-centered wraparound supportive services for youth-led households (ages 16-25) that invest in safety, positive connections, education and employment, life skills, and social-emotional wellness. This grant supports a Housing Specialist and housing-related financial assistance and wraparound supportive services for young adults and their minor children.
Program name/purpose: Community Case Management
Program description: In partnership with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and in alignment with the Family Flex Fund, this grant will provide flexible financial assistance for community case managers to prevent homelessness and increase housing stability for households led by young adults, ages 18-25.
The Salvation Army – Waukesha
Program name/purpose: Rent and Utility Assistance Program
Program description: Provides financial assistance to Waukesha County households at risk of homelessness due to an inability to make rent payments, owing significant rent arrears or are in danger of being disconnected from utilities. Program staff work with clients to provide wraparound supportive services, case management, and referrals to other appropriate community resources.
The Salvation Army – Wisconsin & Upper Michigan
Program name/purpose: Emergency Services Program
Program description: Provides flexible financial assistance and information, and referral services for families who need support to achieve or maintain housing stability. Assistance will include security deposits, rent, utility payments, clothing vouchers, furniture or household items, bus tickets, and expenses related to securing copies of social security cards, birth certificates, and IDs.
United Methodist’s Children’s Services of WI, Inc.
Program name/purpose: UMCS Supportive Housing Program
Program description: Provides affordable apartments for 72 unique households, many of them single mother-led families with young children. This supportive housing unit includes an on-site social worker, childcare center, and emergency food pantry. UMCS also provides housing-related assistance and other forms of support to the Washington Park neighborhood and nearby areas.
Wisconsin Veteran’s Network, Inc. (d/b/a VetsNet)
Program name/purpose: Housing Advocacy for Veteran Families in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, and Ozaukee Counties
Program description: Works closely with the County Veteran Service Officers and the Center for Veterans Issues to identify and provide direct financial support to benefit veterans with families living in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington Counties. Support includes rent or mortgage assistance, tax payments, utility payments, temporary hotel stays, major appliance repair and installation, and other expenses that keeps veterans and their families safe and secure in their environment.
Interested in supporting Safe & Stable Homes?
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