Milwaukee County budget cuts $200,000 to homeless shelters

MILWAUKEE - MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee County leaders could soon make an about-face on looming cuts to homeless shelters.

This year's budget would cut $200,000 to six shelters in the county.

The funding would affect six homeless shelters. The lowest would be about $7,500 in cuts and up to about $60,000 in cuts.

Guest House near 13th Street and Juneau Avenue, for example, would see a roughly $23,000 cut this year.

"We do a lot of funding already, and the area we have to raise funding for is in the shelter operations," said Cindy Krahenbuhl, Executive Director of the Guest House.

County Executive Chris Abele blames the $60 wheel tax not being passed for these cuts.

Abele's spokeswoman says the budget he proposed would have fully funded services and programs at the same level as last year's budget. Abele adds the county board voted for a budget that cut $16 million from last year's budget. 

Milwaukee County's board of supervisors spokesman told TODAY'S TMJ4 the budget did not choose where the cuts would be, that decision was all up to Abele.

At the direction of Abele, the Milwaukee County Housing Division Administrator sent this email to all six shelters Tuesday:

"Hi everyone.  I'm finally able to give everyone an update on the shelter funding situation and it is good news.  Our report has officially been entered into Legistar and will go in from of the Finance Committee this month to restore all shelter funding.  The report asks for money out of contingency funds which is the preferable option.  If that request is not supported, we are asking for approval to begin the year at a deficit that we will have to manage throughout the year.  Regardless, a yes vote for either allows us to be able to move forward immediately with full contract."

After learning the news, County Board Chair Theodore Lipscomb sent us this release:

“I’m thrilled that the County Executive has agreed to abandon his proposed cuts to homeless shelters, and implement the policy we adopted last month, which called for maintaining 2018 shelter funding at the same level the county board authorized previously,”  said Lipscomb. “I applaud County Executive Abele for his turnaround on this issue and for following through on the public commitment his DHHS Director made in December.”

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