Researchers say 40 percent of the homeless youth population in our country identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. A local couple has seen the dark side of this growing problem right here in Milwaukee.
Brad Schlaikowski and his husband Nick have fostered homeless teens who identify as LGBT.
"Being kicked out because you identified as a lesbian at the age of 15. Not knowing where you’re going to get your next meal or where you're going to sleep at night,'' Schlaikowski said.
After learning what those children went through, the couple knew they needed to do something. They created their non-profit, Courage MKE to raise awareness about the LGBT community.
"We started Courage in December of 2015 so in two years the community has supported us enough to allow us to pay cash for this house," Schlaikowski said.
The property on South 6th Street in Walkers Point and the home behind it cost a total $50,000. One of the three bedroom homes will be used to house eight teens. The other will be used for counseling or just a hangout spot for the teens.
Both houses serve as a safe haven for young people ages 10 to 17, who have been living on the street. This group home is first of its kind in the state.
"The fact that we have this house already and that in less than a year we can open the doors and put eight children in it and get them off of the streets is phenomenal." Schlaikowski said.
He says when renovations wrap up, the properties will be called "The Courage House." So why Walkers Point? Schlaikowski said he wanted to have a group home here because there aren't many shelters on the south side.
"If they are rejected from their family, literally put out on their stoop, the second they tell their family, with what they have on their back, how do they get from here to wherever the other shelters are?" he said.
The hope is, The Courage House will be ready to take in teens before next winter. Before then, they need a lot of donations, everything from beds to light bulbs to paintings. If you want to help, check out Courage MKE.