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People affected by homelessness to call on leaders to restore funding

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) – A proposal to cut $200,000 to Milwaukee County homeless shelters could go into effect January 1st, if approved.

Families and people impacted by homelessness will be at the Milwaukee County Courthouse on Monday to tell leaders how their lives will be impacted if the cuts are approved and funding is not restored.

That 28% cut would impact the county’s seven homeless shelters that provide year-round amenities to homeless and children in the county.

“That means that there will be fewer shelter beds, shelters will have reduced hours, and fewer people will get served,” says Wendy Weckler, chair of the Shelter and Transitional Housing Task Force.

Weckler says this will only be detrimental to the shelters that are already at capacity.

“We won’t be able to offer bus tickets to help people get to medical appointments and job interviews,” says Weckler. “For some other shelters it may mean that they will no longer be 24-hour facilities. Meaning people will have to go out into the cold which this time of year can be dangerous.”

“It’s a concern that they’re having to do more with less,” says Melissa Baldauff, communication director for the County Executive’s Office. “Especially this time of year, the winter months bring a greater need for housing.”

In November, the county board approved $15 million in cuts to county services. Baldauff says those cuts include the losses to homeless shelters.

“That also cut funding for the Medical Examiner’s Office and other public safety functions in the county,” says Baldauff. “So we’re calling on them to really reconsider that decision and restore the funding that the County Executive proposed.”

“They’re pointing the finger at one another but no one is truly standing up and taking responsibility,” says Weckler. “We don’t care who does it, we just want someone to do it. The Homeless need someone to do it.”

The press conference will be taking place at 8:30 AM before the finance committee meets to finalize the 2018 budget.

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