Milwaukee Downtown BID 21
Press Release

Downtown debuts Key to Change meters on Sept. 13 to aid in ending chronic homelessness

Seven parking meters retrofitted to collect coin donations for quality-of-life programs

By - Sep 11th, 2017 12:05 pm
Applebee’s, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Shops of Grand Avenue at 275 W. Wisconsin Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Across the country, parking meters are being repurposed to end chronic homelessness. This month, downtown Milwaukee will join Washington, D.C., Denver, Indianapolis, Detroit and others in implementing a community-giving program through meter donations.

Downtown Milwaukee’s campaign, aptly called Key to Change, will include seven coin parking
meters. Led by Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 and retrofitted by Flux Design, the key-shaped
meters will be unveiled Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 10:30 a.m. during a press conference at 275 W.
Wisconsin Ave. Remarks will be made by Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21; County Executive Chris Abele; Steven Mahan, Director of the Community Development Grants Administration for the City of Milwaukee; Tony Janowiec, Owner of Interstate Parking Co. and Co-Owner of Grand Avenue Redevelopment; Kathryn Dunn, Vice President for Community Investment of Greater Milwaukee Foundation; and James Mathy, Housing Division Administrator for Milwaukee County’s Department of Health & Human Services.

Key to Change donations will be collected by Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 and used to further the mission of Milwaukee County Housing Division’s Housing First project – an initiative that recognizes housing as the first step toward stabilization. Stable living conditions are then complemented by wraparound services, which range from rehabilitation and counseling to job training and placement.

Since launching its Housing First initiative in September 2015, Milwaukee County Housing Division has placed more than 225 chronically homeless individuals into permanent supportive housing. Approaching the two-year mark, the program has maintained a 98 percent retention rate. Meanwhile, national models indicate an 84 percent retention rate.

“Data for Housing First programs nationwide overwhelmingly demonstrate that permanent
supportive housing is an effective, long-term solution toward ending chronic homelessness,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. “Through Key to Change, we hope to not only impact the lives of chronically homeless individuals and families, but also improve the quality of life for our community as a whole.”

Donations to Key to Change can be made through coin deposits at any of the seven meter locations listed below. Online transactions can also be made at www.keytochangemke.com. Online donors will receive a tax-deductible receipt and be able to allocate their dollars to one of three programs – funding for a Downtown Homeless Outreach Coordinator, support of the Housing First Endowment Fund or move-in kits for Housing First participants.

  • 1612 W. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 500 W. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 380 W. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 275 W. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 112 W. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 411 E. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 626 E. Wisconsin Avenue

Key to Change is a partnership among the Milwaukee County Housing Division, City of Milwaukee, Marquette University, Milwaukee Police Department, City of Milwaukee – Office of the City Attorney, Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office, East Town Association, Westown Association and Historic Third Ward Association.

For more information on Key to Change, visit www.keytochangemke.com.

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