Homeless for a day: Milwaukee politician spends night in a box to raise awareness

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A Milwaukee politician will be sleeping in a box on Thursday night. County Supervisor Michael Mayo is spending the night outside. He's doing it to support more than 3,000 people believed to be homeless in Milwaukee County.

Supervisor Mayo has been at Dineen Park since 5 p.m. He's got a fire going and is asking people to come by with hats, coats, gloves, as well as hygiene products like soap and toothpaste. He's concerned about two groups of homeless people in particular.

This is the second year Mayo will spend a night at Dineed Park. Specifically, he's focusing on the 300-400 veterans without permanent housing.

"My father's a World War II veteran, he just passed and I did it last year in his honor," Mayo said.

The west side supervisor says he's also bringing attention to victims of domestic violence who've escaped their homes.

"Domestic violence, I keep hearing about that on a consistent basis," said Mayo.

"We have 32 beds for unaccompanied women, we have 8 rooms for families and we're full. We're full every day," said Donna Rongholt-Migan, Cathedral Center Supervisor.

Ringholt-Migan says, over a one-year period, the Cathedral Center downtown has taken in more than twice as many domestic abuse victims.

"We went from 115 women who came to use reporting domestic violence to 240," said Ringholt-Migan.

Mayo hopes to see an increase in local, state, and federal funding for homeless shelters. For now, he's trying to fill the shelter with clothes and supplies.

"I will be here all night. I've got my box, I'll be sleeping in a box. When they come, just knock on my box and hand be some clothes," Mayo said.

Mayo says he'll be there until 9 a.m. Friday morning. At that time, he's expecting the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative to come by and pick up some of the donations. The rest will go to one of the city's shelters.