Hope House Expands Effort to Combat Homelessness
Non-profit now managing St. Catherine Residence on East Side.
Many know Hope House of Milwaukee as a shelter for families facing homelessness, but as the organization expands its reach, it is doing more.
The organization, located at 209 W. Orchard St., houses a walk-in clinic, a youth center for children and a GED program available to both residents and people in the surrounding area.
The organization houses about 10 families and provides them with personal space, communal space and a shared kitchen where families take turns cooking dinner for one another.
In fact, families of all types and backgrounds have spent time at Hope House.
“We don’t define family, you define family,” said Jim Farrell, the development director for Hope House.
While in the shelter, families are provided necessities and wraparound services to help them stay on their feet and move forward.
The organization helps from 50 to 150 families at risk of homelessness find stable housing.
The organization’s rapid rehousing program, for example, provides families in imminent danger of homelessness with emergency assistance to get a roof over their heads, said Wendy Weckler, the executive director of Hope House.
“Ninety-five percent of the families get permanently housed through the program,” she said. “Eighty-five percent have never been homeless again.”
Since Sept. 1, it has been managing the St. Catherine Residence, a building at 1032 E. Knapp St., that has provided women with stable, affordable housing for 125 years.
Mercy House Lakefront gifted the building to prevent it from closing and to carry on the mission of the Sisters of Mercy to provide a flexible housing option for women.
But it has passed the baton to Hope House.
“It’s a case of paying it forward, really,” said Mark Angelini, the president of Mercy Housing Lakefront. “Since we were gifted the building, and we think Hope House is better suited to run it, we want to allow them the chance to grow without the debt that purchasing a building would create.”
How you can help
As Hope House continues to expand its reach in Milwaukee, it needs help. You can donate by clicking here.
NNS Spotlight: Hope House is expanding its tools to combat homelessness was originally published by the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.
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