Senator Tammy Baldwin visits Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative
MILWAUKEE — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin visited the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative (MHVI) to tour the non-profit’s headquarters and highlight efforts to support Wisconsin’s veterans, including the Homeless Veterans Welcome Home Act.
“The Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative takes on the important and inspirational task of ensuring our veterans have the support networks and resources they need and deserve,” said Senator Baldwin. “We have a shared responsibility to meet the needs of veterans who served our nation and who are at-risk or experiencing homelessness. I’m proud to support legislation that will help expand programs like what we are seeing here in Milwaukee to help veterans acquire housing and meet their daily living needs.”
“Here at the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative, it’s our mission to enable homeless and at-risk veterans to reach and maintain their highest level of independence. We do this at no cost to Wisconsin’s veterans and almost all of the items we provide are donated,” said Kirsten Sobieski, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative. “The needs of our veterans are great and are growing. Senator Baldwin’s support of the Homeless Veterans Welcome Home Act will help us continue our efforts to fill the gaps that no one else addresses in supporting these men and women who have served our country.”
The Homeless Veterans Welcome Home Act, co-sponsored by Senator Baldwin, would establish a national pilot program to provide furniture, household items, and other assistance to help homeless veterans as they transition into permanent housing. Senator Baldwin also cosponsored an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have included the Homeless Vets Welcome Home Act in the legislation. Additionally, in May, Senator Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of Senators in support of reauthorization of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program.
Senator Baldwin and MHVI discussed how their move-in program is a model for the national pilot program that would be established through the Homeless Veterans Welcome Act. In the past three years, MHVI has moved about 1,000 veterans into new living spaces, and furnished them with everything they need to make them livable – furniture, linens, kitchenware, toiletries, groceries, small appliances and other necessities. In the first 10 months of 2015, MHVI has performed 302 move-ins, including 40 for women veterans and 50 for families. MHVI does this at no cost to the veterans they serve – many of whom have few or no resources and are coming from residential treatment or transitional housing. Nearly all of the items MHVI provides veterans are donated.
The Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative has served more than 2,000 veterans since it opened in 2008. MHVI assists local homeless and at-risk veterans through several initiatives, including their outreach program to find and assist homeless veterans; a home support program to move-in and furnish living spaces for veterans; follow-up health and wellness assessments; and the Women Veterans Initiative (WOVIN) to seek and assist the growing and underserved population of female veterans.