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New housing for families in Milwaukee County who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

by Wyatt Massey, IMPACT Marketing & Communications Intern

Finding emergency shelter in an overburdened system, as is the case in Milwaukee County, can be tough. When those searching for housing are families, it gets even tougher. IMPACT 2-1-1 call statistics reflect the areas of greatest need; and the numbers regarding families are telling.

During the fourth quarter of 2013, IMPACT 2-1-1 received 867 unduplicated requests from families in Milwaukee County seeking shelter. However, only 57 emergency shelter family rooms exist in the county.       

Thanks to Heartland Housing, a branch of Heartland Alliance, a new $10 million apartment complex is now available for permanent housing for families who are homeless or at risk. Maskani Place opened in January 2014 and is located at 320 E. Center St. in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood. It offers 37 units to families.

The apartments are subsidized so that rent will amount to no more than 30% of a resident’s income, meaning that residents will be able to stay long term.

Frequently, callers seeking permanent housing options were sent to shelter in order to document their homelessness. Often this meant taking up limited shelter beds, just to receive documentation. However, IMPACT 2-1-1’s new Coordinated Entry program is helping ease the process and get clients, and in this case families, into supportive housing without having to stay in emergency shelter.

Coordinated Entry allows clients to make one call to IMPACT 2-1-1 to find housing and not call each shelter individually. IMPACT staff is able to refer clients to the best fit or find other options based on specific client needs and vulnerability. In the case of Maskani Place, IMPACT 2-1-1 is able to utilize their own call data in order to provide the necessary homeless documents needed to enter housing.

Thanks to the help of the dedicated IMPACT 2-1-1 staff and our allies at Heartland Housing, families are finding housing solutions like Maskani Place.