The Guest House is most commonly known as a homeless shelter for men, but it has grown to be much more. The Guest House does provide emergency shelter for 86 individuals each night of the year; the shelter is always full with a constant waiting list. However, the Guest House also focuses on the education, training, case management and treatment aspects associated with eradicating homelessnes - not only for the men we serve, but in addition, the men and women we serve through our 230 scattered-site permanent housing units. The following core programs outline the integrated approach taken here at the Guest House to move people beyond the cycle of homelessness to independence.
Men usually come to the Guest House simply seeking a warm, safe place to sleep. The emergency shelter meets this need and provides meals, hygiene supplies and facilities, storage for belongings, and a mail and message service. If needed, a guest will also be offered immediate access to substance abuse treatment. Stays in the emergency shelter are generally limited to 60 days.
The Guest House provides the opportunity for every man who enters our emergency shelter to make a commitment to fully addressing the problems that led to his homelessness. It is our goal that every man who participates in the transitional housing program departs with independence—meaning permanent housing and self-sustaining income.
At any given point in time, a minimum of 38 men participate in the transitional housing program, with a total of 600-700 served during the course of a year. Each man has an individual plan for independence based on his specific strengths and needs, developed with the support of his Individual Service Plan (ISP) team, which is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of staff professionals.
Men are able to participate in the transitional housing program as long as they are making progress toward achieving their goals, up to a maximum of two years. We are proud to report that in 2010, 45 percent of the men who participated in the transitional program obtained permanent housing - remarkable given that 70% of our guests have a disability, substance abuse addiction or were recently in the criminal justice system.
My Home Partnership with Milwaukee County
and Homelinc III Permanent Housing Programs:
The Guest House operates 230 units of scattered-site supportive permanent housing for people who are homeless with disabilities. Participants in this program have very significant barriers to independence and therefore require long-term support to maintain an apartment in the community. In addition to a fully furnished unit or apartment, each client receives intensive case management, food and transportation subsidies. Clients with income are asked to contribute approximately 30% of their income toward rent. In 2010, 94% of permanent housing program participants maintained their
supportive apartment or successfully moved into
independent, unsubsidized housing.