Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services
Press Release

Milwaukee County Announces $4 Million Grant to Support Young Adults Experiencing Mental Health Diagnoses

Federal grant will support DHHS Behavior Health Division’s Wraparound Milwaukee program to connect young adults to employment, education and housing opportunities

MILWAUKEE (September 11, 2019) – The Milwaukee County DHHS Behavioral Health Division’s Wraparound Milwaukee program was awarded a nearly $4 million grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services‘ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) this week. The grant will target young adults age 16.5 to 25 with a severe and persistent mental health diagnosis who have been involved in multiple other services, including social services, special education, or youth justice.

“Wraparound Milwaukee ensures young people in communities most in need have access to quality mental health services and wraparound programming they need to stay on the right track and build a brighter future for themselves,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “This investment will help us as we build towards racial equity in Milwaukee County and can ensure everyone has what they need to thrive no matter where they live.”

This project will be part of Wraparound Milwaukee’s “Older Youth Emerging into Adult Heroes” (OYEAH) program. Of the target population, nearly 9 percent are homeless, with a further 46 percent sharing a home with someone on a temporary basis, and only with the hospitality of the primary homeowner or leaseholder.

“This grant will allow DHHS to further integrate services across our divisions and continue building partnerships in our community with the aim of empowering safe, healthy, meaningful lives,” said DHHS Director Mary Jo Meyers. “Our Wraparound Milwaukee professionals will be partnering with our excellent Housing Division staff to get these youth into more stable housing situations, which will give them much more room to grow and take care of themselves.”

The grant will be split into nearly-even $800,000 segments delivered by SAMHSA over the next five years, and programming will be a cooperative effort between Milwaukee County DHHS and St. Charles Youth and Family Services.

“More than one hundred youth will be served by this effort over the next five years, and they each deserve a shot at a self-sustaining future,” said Wraparound Milwaukee Director Brian McBride. “Only about one third of the youth we are targeting with this project have a high school diploma or equivalent, and only six percent are employed full time. We appreciate SAMHSA’s confidence in our ability to significantly raise both those rates through the right mix of supports and stabilizers.”

Wraparound Milwaukee aims to start enrolling the first participants in this program by early 2020.

In May 2019, County Executive Chris Abele, with the support of County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson, County Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde and County Supervisor Deanna Alexander, signed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. This grant will help our young people have access to the programs and services they need to thrive, and move us further along in our goal to achieve equity so that race is no longer a predictor of health and socioeconomic outcomes.

About the Milwaukee County DHHS Behavioral Health Division
The Milwaukee County DHHS Behavioral Health Division (BHD) is the community’s connection point to vital, high-quality behavioral health care. BHD empowers safe, healthy and meaningful lives by ensuring that everyone gets connected to great behavioral health care, no matter their severity of need or ability to pay. Through BHD, Milwaukee County residents have access to the largest network of behavioral health providers in the state. BHD provides care and treatment to adults, adolescents and children with mental illness, substance abuse disorders and co-occurring illnesses through crisis services, community-based services, hospital services, and child and adolescent services. For more information, visit

About the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services
The Milwaukee County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) empowers safe, healthy, meaningful lives by ensuring that no one in need goes unserved. Whether it be experiencing homelessness, a mental health crisis, system-involved youth or caring for a child with disabilities, DHHS connects individuals and families to resources that can help. Using best practices from the social service sector, DHHS collaborates within its divisions and with community partners to provide personalized services that are integrated, trauma-informed, and evidence-based and drive positive outcomes. Committed to performance excellence, DHHS is dedicated to ensuring everyone has access to the resources they need to overcome challenges and create opportunities to become self-sufficient, strengthen their families and create a healthy, stable and safe community. DHHS is comprised of five divisions: Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, Division of Youth & Family Services, Disabilities Services Division, Housing Division and Management Services Division. For more information visit

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