In 1981, the Central City Churches Outreach Ministry (the Ministry) started campaigning for a community-based solution to assist the growing number of people experiencing homelessness in the inner city. In 1982, Guest House began serving the short-term needs of Milwaukee’s homeless, and officially incorporated. Since then, Guest House has provided onsite shelter programs and services for 86 adult men at this location.
In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Guest House expanded our building and programs significantly, adding permanent, supported housing and our onsite Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) and behavioral health counseling clinic. In 2009, Guest House led the transformation of one acre of land directly across the street into what is now known as the Cream City Gardens, providing fresh produce to Guest House, our neighbors, local food pantries, and other neighborhood resources.
In 2016, Guest House completed its $3 million building renovation and expansion including an additional 8,000 square feet of space, enhancements to the dormitories, an accessible restroom, an elevator, a commercial-grade kitchen, increased office capacity, and improved safety features. We also began our longterm case management program, enabling us to provide holistic, supportive services to community members and shelter guests.
Today, Guest House offers a full continuum of services to address issues of homelessness and housing instability, spanning prevention, emergency shelter, interim housing, clinical services, permanent housing, and long-term case management. We have grown from a budget of two million, a staff of 40, and approximately 40 housing options in the early 2000’s, to a budget of 7 million, a staff of nearly 90, and over 450 housing options in the community in 2019.
We are currently serving over 1,229+ men, women, and families; harvesting 600 pounds of produce; and engaging 2,500 partners in over 8,000 volunteer hours annually. We continue to shelter 86 men a night and provide meals almost every night of the year.