Homeless sanctuary on MKE's north-side takes step forward

Progress is being made on a new project that's expected to help fill the gap in one of Milwaukee's poorest neighborhoods.

A sanctuary for those with nowhere to go is being built to help the less fortunate on the north side.

"This is crucial for Milwaukee's safety net," said Sister MacCanon Brown.

A five-story 1920s building at 24th and Center Streets was once a factory and then a warehouse. Now demolition crews are inside taking the first steps of turning it into a homeless sanctuary.

"(They) removed the lead and asbestos, etcetera so this is definitely moving forward," Brown said.

Brown said workers just got done with phase one of demolition. There's still a long way to go, but Brown's dream is becoming a reality.

"We've raised 100,000 and we need about $300,000 more for the first floor," she said.

The building is paid in full and soon it will be time to start renovating. The MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary is in the 53206 zip code which an extreme concentration of poverty.

"The homelessness is here, it's more hidden than say in the downtown area," she said. "People are doubled up homeless, they're crowded together under one roof."

Her short-term goal is to open the first floor of the shelter sometime late next year.

"A major help center not just giving basics like food and shelter and hygiene, safety, a non-violent space, but a tool-kit," she said.

A tool-kit that will help 80 to 100 people a day. After the first floor is complete, Brown envisions opening each floor of this building for a greenhouse, medical care, creative space and job training.

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