MILWAUKEE — A successful Racine non-profit is helping homeless veterans move into tiny homes, and now it is planning to expand to Milwaukee.
The need is there. In Racine, there are 12,000 military veterans. Meanwhile in Milwaukee, there are 39,000.
More than 40 tiny homes, a recreation center, and food pantry will be built for military veterans in Milwaukee by the end of this year. The location will be at N. 60th and Green Tree Road. None of this would have been possible if it wasn't first successful in Racine.
“We are saving lives,” said Zachary Zdroik, Marine and worker at Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin.
Navy veteran Glen Miller is one of them. He showed us around his tiny home with pride.
Miller went straight out of high school and into the U.S. Navy for eight years. The 58-year-old says he hit rock bottom about two years ago.
“It was a big struggle. In and out of jobs, because of drinking and drugs and losing friends,” he shared.
Then he found Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin. He said he was living on the streets in Kenosha before and believes the organization saved his life. He is now 16 months clean.
The non-profit also helped connect him with a great-paying job in manufacturing.
“I got a nice bank account going. I’m looking to buy a house in spring or summertime,” he said.
For nearly four years, Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin has housed more than 75 veterans like Glen. They also have a food pantry that serves about 450 veterans and their spouses every month.
Organizers are now ready to branch out and help more vets in Milwaukee.
The plan is to build at least 43 tiny homes, have a recreation area for veterans to meet and seek help, as well as a market food pantry.
“They all put in their effort and gave their lives for our freedom that we have today, so we owe it to them to keep serving them as we move forward,” said Zdroik.
They see the need only growing and do not want any more veterans to fall through the cracks.
As for Glen, he has begun to help other veterans, even taking part in outdoor events and soup kitchens that help former servicemen.
“They understand me and I understand them so it helps the both of us,” he said.
To learn more about the tiny village and food pantry being built in Milwaukee, click here.