Chris Abele
Press Release

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele Announces $100,000 Grant From Bader Philanthropies to Support Housing First initiative

Foundation supports County-wide collaborative to end chronic homelessness

By - Nov 25th, 2015 10:47 am

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele today announced that the County’s Department of Health and Human Services has received a generous grant in the amount of $100,000 from Bader Philanthropies to advance the County’s efforts to end chronic homelessness in Milwaukee.

“We are thrilled by the recognition and support from Bader Philanthropies,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “We launched Housing First in July of this year to provide chronically homeless individuals a place to live immediately with no stipulations. Through this work and our collaborations with the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Police, our homeless shelters, and many community organizations, we are helping some of our most vulnerable citizens reclaim their lives with dignity and we are strengthening our community.”

Of the one year, $100,000 grant from Bader Philanthropies, $50,000 will support the launch of a pilot employment program for chronically homeless individuals, providing immediate job placements and on-the-job training, fostering independence. The remaining $50,000 will enable the Housing Division to provide wraparound case management services, including mental health services.

“Just six months into this initiative, we are on track to exceed our goal to house and serve 100 individuals,” said Department of Health and Human Services Director Héctor Colón. “We know when we move people into permanent housing first they are more likely to overcome the root causes of why they became chronically homeless. Together, with our partners, we can give these individuals the options to take services on their own terms, allowing for choice and flexibility.”

The Housing First initiative is a collaboration between: Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services Housing, Disability Services and Behavioral Health Divisions; City of Milwaukee; Milwaukee Police Department Homeless Outreach; Salvation Army; Cathedral Center; Hope House; Guest House; Community Advocates; landlords; building property partners; shelters, and more. The program is based on a national model that has proven to improve the lives of people involved, reduce homelessness and strengthen communities.

The partnerships in Milwaukee County’s Housing First initiative provide resources for participants that leads to an increase in positive activities like working and keeping families together, while decreasing negative activities like drug and alcohol use and involvement in the criminal justice system. This dramatically decreases the costs associated with police time, emergency room visits and detox center stays.

“When we support highly collaborative initiatives that find innovative solutions to challenges people face in our community, we change lives,” said Daniel J. Bader, Bader Philanthropies President/CEO. “Supporting the Housing First initiative is a great example of our commitment to enrich lives for all people in Wisconsin, especially those who are the most vulnerable.”

The Housing First collaborative and Bader Philanthropies will continue to explore ways to raise community awareness about chronic homelessness and innovative strategies to create sustainable solutions. Interested landlords, employers and organizations can find more information at

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