Permanent Housing in Racine for Homeless Veterans
In late spring of 2003, the Center for Veterans Issues Ltd., of Milwaukee, acquired two large apartment buildings in Racine following a two-year planning and search effort. Using Federal, State of Wisconsin and private funds, these 34 units will be another significant permanent residential resource for disabled, low income veterans and others needing clean, safe, and affordable housing. Located on College Avenue, near downtown Racine, these units will give veterans who have completed special assistance programs, the choice to live in refurbished, one-bedroom units in a safe neighborhood with shopping and public transportation nearby. A number of the units will be designated so that a low or limited income veteran will pay no more than 30% of their income for the monthly rent.
Also, because of a federal grant approved earlier, food, laundry, transportation and special counseling services will be available to those men or women that need certain support services to live independently. To make this project work, CVI needed local assistance to set up and outfit several of the apartments. Many of the formerly homeless vets who complete a transitional living program have gained help with physical, legal, mental health, addiction or other serious issues. But, they do not have the ability to pay for or acquire furniture, appliances, bedding, kitchenware, curtains, or any of the many items that everyone has in their home when they return to the community of their choice. One of the organizations that has been a strong supporter of veterans assistance efforts in Southeastern Wisconsin is VFW Post 9948 of Sturtevant. Over the years, these men and women have donated coffee, supplies, clothing, appliances, equipment, even cash to help the veterans. When asked what else was needed for our program, the idea of outfitting and furnishing one of the new independent permanent apartments was discussed.
After reviewing the plan the membership of Post 9948 agreed to sponsor one of the apartments. After visiting the building and talking to CVI staff and counselors, they took the challenge of getting whatever would be needed to have the unit ready to move into by one of the grateful and successful vets. In December 2003, the first veteran moved into the apartment. This disabled vet was pleased and proud to be an example of a partnership program that really honors our wounded vets and helps them become successful and independent again.