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A Warm Future at The Johnston Center

Wisconsin is known for its long, cold and snowy winters. For our neighbors that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, the falling leaves and shorter days become a time of real worry. Temporary housing only provides shelter for a limited time, and there is often a waiting period before a person becomes eligible for a subsequent stay. The best solution to combat the dangers of the winter season is permanent housing, an amenity which is difficult to access and unaffordable for many.

Thankfully, The Johnston Center Residences of Milwaukee is proactive and does its best to ensure that no person is left out in the cold. The apartment building, which was completed in 2011, offers 91 units to people who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness. These units are designated to individuals who make no more than 50% of the County Median Income, ensuring that those in need are offered housing that they can afford.

Because the facility is not a shelter or transitional housing, it means that a resident of The Johnston Center is able to live peacefully until their income level reaches a point where they may financially support themselves elsewhere. Vacant units are then opened for another prospective resident to call home. Thanks to the services offered by the facility, this road to independence is further expedited by the fact that The Johnston Center grants access to supportive services such as employment assistance, classes, skill development courses, and other amenities which are provided through private donations.

I love it here. The staff treat me with dignity and respect. I’m not just another number to them. Now that I’m in housing, I can focus on taking care of myself again.
-Resident of The Johnston Center

Case managers address each resident on a case-by-case basis, ensuring that they understand what goals need to be met in order to be successful. Because the facility’s main goal is to help the homeless population, WHEDA’s involvement was a given. In 2009, WHEDA allocated $9.5 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) to ensure the facility’s success. Due to the difficult economic climate of the late 2000s, the project was also awarded $1.8 million through the federal Tax Credit Assistance program, which sought to make up the deficit in financing for the LIHTC project.

Residents of The Johnston Center no longer need to fear being left out in the cold. Thanks to WHEDA financing, they can instead recover and look forward to the warmer months to come.