'End chronic homelessness:' Grand opening ceremony held for St. Anthony Place

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee reached a milestone on Friday, March 15 in the effort to combat homelessness. A grand opening ceremony was held Friday, March 15 for St. Anthony Place, the new permanent supportive housing development for Milwaukee’s homeless.

St. Anthony Place

St. Anthony Place, the former St. Anthony’s Hospital, will 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.

According to a press release, Milwaukee County provided a $1.8 million grant for the project that saves the old St. Anthony Hospital. 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.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele

“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.

Raymond Woods lived on the streets of Milwaukee for 15 years -- but not anymore. Woods now lives under his own roof, surrounded by four walls he says are his happiness.

"This is my first place ever, really," said Woods.

St. Anthony Place grand opening

Woods is just one of the dozens of formerly homeless residents living in St. Anthony Place. While Woods and other residents are settling in, so is the reality they have a place to call home.

Raymond Woods

"I kissed the floor, and I just jumped on into the bed and just stretched out into the bed for a second and just said, 'Finally,'" said Woods.

"At the end of the day, it's about how we treat each other -- and I think we can be proud in Milwaukee that we treat each other with dignity," said Mayor Tom Barrett.

St. Anthony Place grand opening

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.