By County Executive Chris Abele
The historic, former St. Anthony’s Hospital, at 1004 N. 10th St., will soon have a new name and new purpose after more than three decades of sitting vacant. St. Anthony Place now features 60 modern apartments, 39 of which will house individuals with housing vouchers from the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services’ Housing Division. A ceremony was held Friday, March 15 at 11 a.m. to celebrate the opening of St. Anthony Place at St. Benedict the Moor Parish, 924 W. State St.
“St. Anthony Place is a huge step in Milwaukee County’s effort to end chronic homelessness in our community and provide permanent, supportive housing for those in need,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “Since our coordinated effort to provide housing first began in 2015, overall homelessness in Milwaukee County has dropped by 40 percent. This project will surely help us reduce that number even further. It’s a prime example of how Milwaukee County leverages creativity, resources and partnerships to reinvent a vacant space for public good.”
St. Anthony Place is a development of Chicago-based Heartland Housing, a subsidiary of Heartland Alliance focusing on the development of people through the preservation and creation of affordable and supportive housing. This project is also supported by neighboring Capuchin Community Services, Ascension Wisconsin, the City of Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
“We couldn’t have made such a historic project like St. Anthony Place happen without the kind of partners we have in Heartland, Capuchin, Ascension, and others,” said Milwaukee County DHHS Director Mary Jo Meyers. “Their help in focusing on the social determinants of health in Milwaukee County will go a long way toward accomplishing our mission of empowering safe, healthy, meaningful lives.”
Milwaukee County provided a $1.8 million grant for the project that saves the old St. Anthony Hospital, whose importance to the African American community is recognized in the buildings listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Additionally, the County is co-locating a Day Reporting Center inside the facility as a community-based alternative to incarceration—contributing $50,000 annually for support services from the Housing Division; and contributing $400,000 annually in the form of 39 project-based, County-administered vouchers using the Housing First philosophy.
“The 39 individuals placed in St. Anthony were placed through our Milwaukee County Housing First program, specifically targeting those who have a lengthy homeless history,” said Milwaukee County DHHS Housing Administrator James Mathy. “Housing First recognizes that housing without preconditions is the cure for homelessness. Since starting this project in 2015, we have housed more than 750 homeless individuals and remain on track to become the largest county in the nation to end chronic homelessness.”
Anyone can help support Milwaukee County Housing First by making a donation to the Housing First Endowment, a project in partnership with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, by visiting county.milwaukee.gov/HousingFirst.