Community leaders highlight affordable housing initiatives for homeless veterans
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson was among a group to tour the Milwaukee Soldiers Home on the grounds of the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center Tuesday.
The goal of the visit was to highlight affordable housing initiatives for veterans experiencing homelessness. The Soldiers Home has become a national leader in this effort. As someone with family members who have served, Mayor Johnson says it was important for him to see the facility.
"There is a strong partnership with multiple players to make this place a home for individuals in our community who have stepped up to serve our country," said Mayor Johnson.
The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, Zablocki VA Medical Center, and the Center for Veterans Issues are all partners in the project.
"Soldiers Home showcases and models what collaboration is all about," said Eduardo Garza, Center for Veterans Issues (CVI) president and CEO. CVI manages the facility which has 101 units to support homeless veterans.
"During trying times with COVID, this project really shows the country what the city of Milwaukee can do when there's just 100 percent collaboration," said Garza.
Officials say nationwide, there are many veterans experiencing homelessness and the pandemic has only made things worse. Providing resources remains vital.
"Some of the veterans that we serve have had a history of chronic homelessness and there's several factors that contribute to that," said Amy Maul, program manager at the Zablocki VA Medical Center.
Maul says some issues contributing to the number of veterans experiencing homelessness include mental health, medical issues, family concerns, and a history of trauma.
Jonathan Beck, developer and project manager for Soldiers Home, says while they have made great strides to assist local vets, the work will continue. He says there are plans in the works to better utilize some of the other building on the campus to support these efforts.
"We're lucky to be 100 percent occupied. The veterans feel comfortable with both CVI here and the case management that they're getting and the overall development," said Beck.