State Lawmakers Visit Homeless Facility In Milwaukee

Visit Comes After 4 Bills Targeting Homelessness Passed Earlier This Year

Ross Terrell/WPR

Lawmakers from the Wisconsin Assembly visited the state’s first housing development meant for homeless people who may have dependency issues Monday in Milwaukee.

The Thurgood Marshall House offers 24 one-bedroom apartments and provides on-site access to mental health and social services.

Lawmakers used the event to highlight four bills the Assembly passed earlier this year meant to combat homelessness. They include efforts to increase coordination between state agencies and create a pilot program for the chronically homeless.

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State Sen. Lena Taylor, D- Milwaukee, said the focus should be on wrapping services around housing.

“I should be able to identify the issues and the multiple services that you might need,” she said. “Then I can help you connect so that you’re not having to go to 15 different places in order to get help for all of the different things that you might have going on, but one place.”

State Rep. Jessie Rodriguez, R-Oak Creek, helped co-sponsor the bills. She said visiting the facilities for homeless people gives the state an idea of where resources are needed.

“We’re looking for guidance from all the nonprofit organizations throughout the state to kind of guide us to what programs are working, what doesn’t work, and what they would need more help with,” she said. “We’re exploring ideas and we’re asking them to give us those ideas.”

Rodriguez said it is important other services like job placement and mental health treatment are included along with housing opportunities.