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A Clean Start with Noah House

While Noah House itself no longer exists, it stands as a shining example of WHEDA’s dedication to improve the quality of life for all Wisconsin residents and demonstrates the diversity of WHEDA’s involvement throughout the state.

Sometimes, overcoming a challenge requires personal initiative and extra support from people who care, some of whom have never been met. This is especially true in situations involving drug and alcohol addictions. In honor of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, WHEDA is telling the story of Noah House of Waukesha; a large single-family residence for Alcohol and Other Drug Addicted (AODA) juveniles established in 1982. Southeastern Wisconsin Homes, Inc. (SWH), also known as Southeastern Youth and Family Services (SYFS), founded Noah House to serve as a resource for those who otherwise had nowhere to go.

Unfortunately, in January 1990, a fire damaged most of the living areas of the property. By May of that year, the property was rebuilt, and the living area of the house was expanded. SYFS applied to WHEDA to receive a permanent mortgage loan for Noah House. The $126,688 loan closed on August 8, 1991. This transaction was a win-win situation for all parties involved, as it allowed SYFS to pay for construction costs, add a 2 ½ car garage, cover a portion of the financing and closing costs, and experience mortgage financing security. It also helped WHEDA’s Multifamily department reach their annual goal of providing affordable housing through economical financing to people who may otherwise be homeless while also preserving the supply of low-income housing.

The maximum length of stay at Noah House was six months, and most residents stayed anywhere between five and six months. Staff was on site 24 hours a day, and along with addiction counselors, guided their patients through personalized treatment plans with the proper tools and resources needed to feel empowered to regain control of their lives. Staff specialized in intervention, addiction, alcohol, drug, and substance abuse, and medical detox. The Noah House team firmly believed that recovery is always possible when patients receive empathy, guidance, and support while going through intensive treatment programs. Positive experiences can result in patients returning to their normal, health ways of life. This is consistent with WHEDA’s vision to provide the tools to help people and communities realize their hopes and dreams.

SYFS, the operating organization for Noah House, was licensed by the State of Wisconsin as a Child Placing Agency and operated four homes for juveniles in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. SYFS provided housing and counseling services to residents who were referred by area Departments of Social Services through an annual contract with the counties. SYFS merged with Pathfinders Milwaukee in 2012. Pathfinders offers a variety of services, including supportive housing and clinical services to struggling youth.