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Milwaukee on track to be the largest county in the U.S. to end chronic homelessness

Posted at 5:02 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 09:51:46-05

Milwaukee County is on a mission to find 100 permanent homes for the homeless in 45 days.  

Outreach Services Manager Eric Collins-Dyke knows the name and story of almost every person living in the growing homeless encampments around the city.  

Sometimes his team brings supplies and other days they clean up garbage, but their focus is finding homes for folks like Anthony who lives under the Marquette overpass near 6th and Clybourn.  

Anthony has been on the streets on and off for years.  

"This time I've been out here straight for five months," said Anthony.  

Anthony said a real home could turn his life around.

"Once I get an apartment yah know I'm a pretty smart guy I might go back to school," said Anthony.

Until then he's living in a tent community, close to food services and other resources.  James Mathy, the Housing Administrator of Milwaukee County Housing Division said they deserve more.

"For us, it doesn't really matter whose land it is if it's state, or county, or city, the mission to us is permanent housing," said James Mathy.

They're making this happen by giving the homeless housing vouchers, or section 8. 

"We are on pace to be the largest county in the nation to end chronic homelessness," said Mathy.

The county has a 96 percent rate of keeping people in housing while jail time and hospital visits are going down. 

"Our whole community has focused on the decriminalization of homelessness.  So we have police officers and businesses that will now call our outreach team instead of writing individuals tickets," said Mathy.

Even though more tents are popping up, Mathy said overall homelessness is down 45 percent in Milwaukee County since 2015.

"We think we've solved the blueprint for homelessness we just don't have the resources to do it," said Mathy.

You can help Milwaukee County find the homeless permanent homes by donating toHousing First Milwaukee.

For more information about raising funds for Milwaukee's homeless call 414-278-5106.