Milwaukee County Announces New Milestone in Efforts to End Chronic Homelessness

Thurgood Marshall Apartments Move Forward as Wisconsin’s First New Harm Reduction Housing Development

Milwaukee, WI (March 10, 2016) – Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, in partnership with Cardinal Capital Management, Inc. and Wisconsin Community Services announced today a significant new development in efforts to end chronic homelessness in Milwaukee County. Financing in the amount of $4.85 million has been closed on for the construction of Thurgood Marshall Apartments.

“Less than a year ago, we made a pledge to end chronic homelessness in Milwaukee County. This is just latest development in the County’s significant progress toward meeting that goal. The Thurgood Marshall Apartments will make it possible for us to provide safe housing for people who have no place to call home,” says Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “These are our most vulnerable, homeless citizens who need a safe place to begin their recovery.”

Milwaukee County, the City of Milwaukee and multiple community partners launched Milwaukee County’s Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, a Housing First approach to homelessness, in the summer of 2015 with the goal of ending chronic homeless by 2018. Housing First is based on the idea that a homeless individual or household’s first and primary need is to obtain stable permanent housing, only then can they find stability and begin rebuilding their life.

The Thurgood Marshall Apartments will be located at North 6th Street and provide 24 one-bedroom units of permanent, supportive housing for low-income adults who are chronically homeless and suffer from chronic alcoholism. Wisconsin Community Services will provide on-site social service support seven days per week, 24 hours per day. The supportive housing combined with support services is a harm reduction strategy that reduces the risks and harmful effects of substance use and guides an individual’s recovery. 

A Milwaukee County Innovation Grant in the amount of $500,000, a City of Milwaukee Housing Trust Fund award in the amount of $385,000 and $300,000 from the Milwaukee County Housing Division for services were leveraged along with $2.75 million in low-income housing tax credits awarded by WHEDA and purchased by PNC Bank, and a $1.2 million construction loan with First Business Bank to create this innovative and important way to show that Housing First works in Milwaukee.

“We know that safe housing is a path to stability and recovery,” says Erich Schwenker, President of Cardinal Capital Management. “We’re proud to see our community commit to ending chronic homelessness by addressing the most pressing needs of this population, and our team is proud to be a partner in this work.”

Other partners in this effort include the Halyard Park Neighborhood Association, Milwaukee 6th District Alderwoman Milele Coggs, Milwaukee County Supervisor Willie Johnson, Housing and Urban Development, the Milwaukee County Housing Division, the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division and many others.

Construction on the Thurgood Marshall Apartments has begun. A groundbreaking recognition event is being planned for the spring. The development is expected to open in October of 2016.

Ending Chronic Homelessness in Milwaukee County County Executive Chris Abele launched this ambitious new approach to end chronic homeless in Milwaukee County by 2018 through innovative partnerships, increased funding, and strategic service placement. Starting July 1, 2015 Milwaukee County began moving from the traditional approach of providing short-term subsistence through the provision of shelter beds and towards a plan that empowers the chronically homeless by providing housing that is permanent.

About Cardinal Capital Cardinal Capital Management, Inc. is a national housing developer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with more than 8,500 units of housing across Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Arizona. We work closely with clients and partners to create housing and provide services that meet the needs of our residents.

About Wisconsin Community Services Wisconsin Community Services is a Milwaukee based 501C(3) that uses research-based and time-tested programs to provide the opportunities individuals need to overcome their adversity and, when possible, make their own situation, and that of those around them, better.