Repurposed parking meters are being used to combat homelessness

Repurposed parking meters are being used to combat homelessness

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Photo by Lee Matz, Milwaukee Independent
88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Wisconsin Avenue welcomes seven new parking meters this week.

Joining major cities such as Indianapolis, Denver and Washington D.C., Milwaukee will also be doing its part to combat chronic homelessness in the city through the Key to Change donation program.

Milwaukee County Housing Division and Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District worked together to bring this initiative to Milwaukee.

The parking meters were retrofitted by Flux Design to resemble golden skeleton keys. They are placed near businesses and intersections running down several blocks of Wisconsin Avenue.

It’s pretty simple. When you see a meter, simply drop in some coins to make a donation.

While the donations won’t pay for your parking space, 100 percent of the proceeds will go straight to the Housing First Initiative.

As is noted in the name, Housing First provides housing for those dealing with chronic homelessness first, and then offers additional resources to individuals on a case-by-case basis.

Chronic homelessness refers to someone who has been continuously homeless for over a year. They make up less than 15 percent of the homeless population in America.

Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown Improvement District, believes Key to Change donations will be instrumental in fighting this ongoing battle.

Click the player below to hear our interview

Meters can be found at the following streets:

  • 1612 W. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 500 W. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 380 W. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 275 W. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 112 W. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 411 E. Wisconsin Avenue
  • 626 E. Wisconsin Avenue