The city of Milwaukee has formalized the sale of land on the northwest side of the city to a nonprofit developer who plans to build so-called tiny houses for veterans.
In a ceremony Friday morning at City Hall, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Brad Belhing, executive director of developer, Milwaukee-based Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin Inc., signed the sales documents and celebrated the news. . Officials presented the project as a future site for the reintegration of ex-combatants, with access to resources for employment, health and future housing needs. The project, said 9th District Alderman Chantia Lewis, crucially serves those who “give us the freedoms we enjoy.”
“It’s just a little way to say thank you making sure they have a roof over their headsâ¦ it gives them a space to call home.” said Lewis, whose district encompasses the project site in the Havenwood neighborhood.
US Air Force veteran Lewis said veterans often face a difficult process of reintegrating into mainstream society. Many, she said, are discharged with little understanding of what to do next. They may return without a job and with a limited support network. Young veterans, she said, are particularly vulnerable to homelessness.
Lewis told the Sentinel Journal that she was grateful to have found a job and a place to live in her hometown of Milwaukee after serving at a base in Alaska, but said she understood why others are struggling. .
“It’s very easy that if you don’t have a support system to catch you up, when you fall you really fall.” Lewis said. “I could have been a homeless veteran.”
Lewis said the project had been underway for three and a half years.
The plan is to build 48 houses on seven acres at 6767 North 60th Street.
Related:Tiny homes for homeless veterans are arriving in northwest Milwaukee. The $ 2.2 million project begins construction soon.
Related:Tiny houses are popping up across the United States. Here’s how they could help with the affordable housing crisis.
Lewis touted the location as being “nestled in a community”. The site currently has a community garden which she says will be part of the small house project.
Brad Behling, executive director of Veteran’s Outreach, said the organization plans to launch the project in the near future. In the first phase of the project, Veterans Outreach will focus on 24 small detached houses. It will also build a 10,000 square foot community center with a shared kitchen, showers and offices that will house services for site residents. The houses will each have 240 square feet.
According to Behling, the organization’s goal is to have the first set of homes filled with veterans by the spring of next year. The site will seek to serve homeless veterans and those who come to Milwaukee after their service.
The project progressed in part with a loan of $ 700,000 from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. The remaining $ 2.2 million required for the project will come from grants and donations.