Wisconsin is notorious for its harsh winters, so when temperatures hover around 40 in January, it seems far too good to be true.
However, most people — even those living in serious poverty — know that when the weather gets extreme again, they’ll at least have a warm place to sleep at night.
Unfortunately, for too many Milwaukee veterans, the basic human need of shelter isn’t a guarantee.
“They are at their absolute breaking point when they come to see us.” said Kirsten Sobieski, executive director of Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative.
“They’ve run out of resources, they’ve run out couches to sleep on.”
And that’s where MHVI steps in, providing multiple programs to prevent, reduce and overcome homelessness in the local veteran community.
For those living on the streets or in their cars, trained professionals help them get to a safer, warmer location and connect them with resources to improve their lives. The outreach team also provides basic cold-weather gear and food, no strings attached.
For other, less-acute cases, MHVI works to connect them to permanent hosing.
And the clients aren’t just handed the keys to an empty apartment. Instead, they’re given a kit of home essentials, including a complete bed set, furniture and kitchen equipment.
How you can help
As a nonprofit organization, MHVI relies on new or gently used donations from the community, especially in the winter, to meet the critical need.
Some of the most commonly needed new items include:
- Bed pillows
- Twin sheet sets
- Full sheet sets
- Twin, full, and queen comforters
- Knives – packaged only, not loose
- Silverware sets of 6
- Bath mats
- Throw rugs
And MHVI accepts the following gently used items:
- Wooden spoons
- Measuring spoons
- Mixing spoons
- Can openers
- Ice cream scoops
- Flatware trays
- Hand mixers
- Magic bullets
- Coffee makers
- Tea kettles
- Vacuum cleaners
- Irons and ironing boards
- Milk crates
- Rubbermaid/Sterilite bins (105 qt)
- Casserole dishes
- Mixing bowls