County Executive Chris Abele
Press Release

Milwaukee County Announces New Investments in Homeless Prevention Services in the 2020 Budget

$250,000 investment in the Housing First Initiative will support prevention programming

By - Oct 3rd, 2019 01:04 pm

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and the Milwaukee County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Housing Division today announced an additional $250,000 investment to expand homeless prevention services as part of the recommended 2020 budget. Building on the success of the Housing First initiative, the Housing Division will expand its efforts in preventing eviction and homelessness for an additional 150 families per year.

“Every resident should have a roof over their head, and every child should have a safe space to call home,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “Building on the success of the Housing First initiative, DHHS will help build on the gains made with the county’s homeless population by addressing the root cause of homelessness through prevention.”

Housing First was launched in 2015 to help residents access the permanent housing they need so they can address other challenges in a more stable environment. In the first several years, Housing First placed more than 700 chronically homeless individuals in permanent housing and reduced the overall rate of homelessness in Milwaukee County by more than 45 percent.

“Housing First helps residents across Milwaukee County access permanent housing while providing voluntary wraparound services,” said James Mathy, Housing Division Administrator for the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services. “This additional prevention investment in the 2020 budget will help our homeless system begin to provide additional services before someone becomes homeless.”

The Housing Division will expand connections to service with IMPACT 211 to provide flexible funding and housing navigation for individuals and families that previously would have entered shelter or approached homeless outreach workers on the street to receive housing supports and services.  Through the homeless prevention pilot in 2019, more than 540 individuals were served, and 83 percent of participants were able to avoid becoming homeless.

The Eviction Prevention pilot saw similar success. In 2019, the Eviction Prevention pilot prevented 49 evictions by providing a one-time financial assistance to individuals facing an eviction and impending homelessness. Participants in the pilot were in area codes 53206, 53205, 53208, 53210, 53211, 53212,53218, 53219 and 53233.

“When I launched the Eviction Prevention pilot, I was excited to see what impact we could make,” said 4th District County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic. “I am elated that so many county residents were able to avoid eviction through our program. Forty-nine less families dealing with evictions and impending homelessness is a win-win for taxpayers and our community.”

In 2020, the Housing Division will also continue its expansive efforts to co-develop real estate, rehabilitate foreclosed properties and consult on ways to generate additional revenue. The 2020 budget also includes funding for a Prevention Navigator role at DHHS.

Through its Housing First Initiative, the Housing Division works in collaboration with the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Police Department, District Attorney’s office and a large network of non-profit providers.

Donations are needed for startup kits to assist individuals with moving into apartments.  For more information on how to donate, visit:

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele submitted the 2020 recommended budget proposal to the County Board of Supervisors on October 1, 2019. The proposed 2020 budget bolsters bus services, builds on homeless services initiatives and expands investments to promote racial equity.

About the Milwaukee County DHHS Housing Division

The Milwaukee County DHHS Housing Division empowers safe, healthy, meaningful lives by supporting individuals with accessing and maintaining housing. The Housing Division does this through the administration the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Community Development Block Grant, HOME, and Milwaukee County’s homeless and supportive housing programs. The Housing Division also innovates in the way it is ending chronic homelessness through Milwaukee County Housing First as well as the Opportunity Knocks program through its rehabilitation of foreclosures. 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. For more information visit

Recent Press Releases by County Executive Chris Abele

Milwaukee County Passes Ordinance to Advance Racial Equity and Improve Health Outcomes

Milwaukee County leaders commit to eliminating institutional racism by addressing County polices, practices and power structures through a racial equity lens

Milwaukee County Officials Order All Municipal Polling Places Closed

County Officials Implement Gov's Order to Protect Public Health

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us