Milwaukee is getting it done for our young people leaving foster care.
Oregon, Wisconsin-based developer Gorman & Company is planning to build up to 36 tiny homes to serve teens aging out of the Milwaukee County foster care system.
Gorman is working in partnership with the nonprofit organization, Pathfinders Milwaukee Inc., and the State of Wisconsin Department of Children and Families on the project.
The company has also come to a conceptual agreement with the Milwaukee Area Technical College Board of Directors to lease an underutilized portion of land owned by MATC as a site for the tiny homes.
It will provide rapid rehousing for young adults ages 18-25, who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.
This nonprofit appears to be an effective fit for this kind of youth project. Why?
Let's look at their performance outcomes:
1. 5,590 youth and young adults who received services in 2015
2. Out of the 3,855 youth who were engaged by their street outreach team, 98% reduced their risk of sexual exploitation.
3. Out of the 283 youth who received housing stabilization and/or supportive housing services housing, 91% had successful exits back into their family homes or another permanent supportive housing alternative.
4. Out of the 1,073 youth who received services to stabilize and further their education, 100% reduced school detentions.
And these tiny homes will become a permanent supportive place for the continuance of life changing service interventions. This time, in a home.
Each of the homes will be approximately 500 square feet.
“The MATC Board of Directors and administration recognize the need to help this population and sees this as an opportunity for community outreach in keeping with the college’s mission,” Martin said. “The MATC Board of Directors will make a final decision on approving a ground lease agreement when project plans have been finalized.”
The Milwaukee County Housing Division has been working on this project with Pathfinders for more than a year. The housing division has already invested $100,000 for construction costs and will provide rent payments to support the youth adults aging out of foster care.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said the county is committed to ending chronic homelessness faster than any other metro area using a Housing First approach, which is supported by several initiatives, like the tiny house build.
“Providing this type of supportive housing for youth aging out of foster care is a model for prevention,” Abele said. “These tiny houses also give us the opportunity to deepen our partnerships with local nonprofits and engage educational institutions with workforce development opportunities.”
Before the project can move forward, the property needs to be rezoned and a detailed planned development will need to be approved by the city of Milwaukee. Ben Marshall, director of architecture with Gorman & Company, expects the project will be on the city’s plan commission agenda in June.
Marshall hopes to start construction on the tiny homes in late spring or early fall.