Financial help is needed to save facility immediately
By Lynda L. Jones
The Veteran Men and Women Arm Service, Inc. is currently in danger of losing its facility located at 1105-10 N. 26th Street due to a deliquent tax bill of approximately $5,000.00 with the City of Milwaukee.
“It has been my life’s work to help inform veterans of what they are due, and also provide homeless veterans with a place to stay.” stated Bernice (Burgie) Rogers founder of the organization and owner of the property.
Rogers had been informed by a representative from the City’s Tax division that the organization, a nonprofit would have property tax exempt status. She later found out that the information was incorrect, leaving her with the tax bill and a limited time to pay it.
“We have until the end of the month, March 31, 2012. And we have had to let some other bills go for now including our telephone service to concentrate on raising these funds to save the building.” she added.
The nonprofit organization offers a safe and clean place to live for hard-to-reach, chronically homeless veterans, many of whom had become a permanent presence on Milwaukee’s skid row.
Rogers said she established the supportive housing program to serve as a safety net after seeing far too many of her fellow comrades fall through the cracks. She turned the former apartment complex near W. Highland Blvd. into housing for male and female veterans. They are housed separately in twobedroom apartments, which include a bathroom, kitchen and living room.
The program relies heavily on financial contributions and donor support and helps veterans get back on their feet, assisting them in applying for their full veteran benefits and offering other supportive services, including transportation to doctor appointments and trips to the grocery store. Residents pay rent on a sliding fee scale. They pay what they can.
With the economy in the state that it is in today, and especially the high unemployment in Milwaukee, this facility and its programs are more than needed. Add to these factors, that veterans are coming back home now in the thousands from Iraq and Afganistan as well.
At this point any financial assistance would help the organization with this outstanding tax bill. Rogers is also open for any loan opportunities as well. She has reached out to her alderman Bob Bauman, and he has told her that there is nothing that he can do, nor has directed her to anyone that can work with her. Rogers says that her last hope was to at least get the word out for help through the Milwaukee Black Press.
For anyone who would be able and willing to donate to this need, they can do so online through; www.mke123.org/nonprofit/vetshelpingvets or mail checks to 2915 W. Highland Blvd., Milwaukee, WI 53208. Since there phones are off right now for additional information, contact The Milwaukee Courier Newspaper at 414- 449-4860.