Safe & Stable Homes: your donations are already hard at work!
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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Safe & Stable Homes: your donations are already hard at work!

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February 13, 2020

In 2019, United Way and community partners announced a goal: end family homelessness in our community by 2025. The community responded by giving generously to this new initiative and those dollars are already hard at work making lasting change in our community.

Donations to United Way’s Community Fund also support this work by funding local emergency shelters, food pantries, and urgent needs.

Transition of homeless population underneath 1-794/Marquette Interchange
In October 2019, United Way made a $75,000 contribution to assist in the transition of the homeless population living underneath highway I-794 beneath the Marquette Interchange.

“At its peak, approximately 90 people resided at this location,” said James Mathy, Housing Administrator at Milwaukee County. “This group transitioned to a mix of emergency shelter, temporary housing, and permanent housing. Permanent housing is always the ultimate goal.”

United Way was a partner in this process as the funding assisted with the staffing and housing costs related to many temporary housing placements.

While the work continues, Milwaukee County’s outreach service providers have shared several heartening stories with us, like this one:  

A woman who struggles with serious mental illness was staying at the encampment after her last housing placement failed. With the support of United Way funding, the outreach team was able to engage her, gain her trust, and obtain enough documentation to certify her as “chronically homeless,” which puts her on the shortlist for permanent housing. She was able to enroll in the Housing First supportive program and is now living in a 55 and older building she is really happy with.

Waukesha Overflow Shelter for Women & Families
For the second year, United Way supported this emergency overflow shelter.  The shelter has a nightly capacity of 20, and will be open through March.  We are incredibly grateful to Waukesha community members, who flocked to the shelter-specific meal train and are providing a warm meal every night for the guests.

The Marcus Corporation & Serta Mattress Donation
The Marcus Corporation recently secured a donation of 105 twin XL mattresses from Serta so that everyone housed during the 1-794 transition will have a new bed to come home to. Thank you to both The Marcus Corporation and Serta for this generous donation!

Housing Case Management in Milwaukee Public Schools
Each year, United Way matches a Siemer Foundation grant that supports a housing case manager to work with families of Milwaukee Public School students experiencing homelessness. Because of the success of fundraising for the Safe & Stable Homes initiative, Siemer increased their matching grant by $50,000 to fund a housing case manager dedicated to Auer Avenue Elementary, Hopkins-Lloyd Community School, and North Division High School. That housing case manager will split their time between those three schools, providing support to families experiencing homelessness and housing instability.

Waukesha Project Homeless Connect
In Fall 2019, United Way launched the very first Project Homeless Connect in Waukesha which is a one-day event dedicated to serving individuals experiencing homelessness by providing health screenings and access to community resources in one convenient location. Planning has already begun for the 2020 event on August 27.

2020 Safe & Stable Homes funding decisions
United Way staff and the Safe & Stable Homes advisory council have been working across sectors (education, healthcare, legal, emergency shelter, government and funders) to fine-tune our strategies to end family homelessness by 2025. This includes an increase of legal representation for families in eviction cases, embedding housing case managers into the education system and hospitals, having more funding available for families that need emergency rent assistance, and strengthening support to shelters so families find permanent housing faster. The Safe & Stable Homes advisory council will meet again this February to prioritize which strategies get funded first. 2020 funding decisions will be announced in July.

THANK YOU to everyone who donated to the Safe & Stable Homes initiative including sponsors ManpowerGroup and Brewers Community Foundation.

Stay tuned for further email updates about our progress. Great things happen when we Live United.

Learn more about our goal to end family homelessness by 2025.

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