The Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home Historic District (Soldiers Home) on the grounds of the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center is a National Historic Landmark District, and one of Milwaukee’s most important historic assets.
As part of an Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), The Alexander Company and the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee are leading a team that has been chosen by the VA to restore and rehabilitate six of the District’s buildings. Under the proposal, the buildings will be renovated to include a total of 101 supportive housing units for veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
WHAT DOES THE CURRENT PROPOSAL INCLUDE?
- Adaptive reuse of six historic buildings
- Preservation of interior and exterior historic features
- 101 housing units for veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
- Community space for veterans
- Onsite veteran supportive services
$40 Million. Proposed funding sources include:
- Low Income Housing Tax Credits
- Federal and State Historic Tax Credits
- Fundraising and other soft financing options
WHAT SERVICES WILL BE AVAILABLE TO VETERANS?
Milwaukee-based Center for Veterans Issues will provide onsite supportive services for veterans living at the Soldiers Home. These services include:
- Case management
- Educational training and employment assistance
- Benefits assistance
- Temporary financial assistance
- Peer-to-peer counseling
- Recreational activities
- Transportation assistance
- Independent living skills training, including: cleaning, meal planning and preparation, laundry and personal nance
- Wellness programs
- Sobriety maintenance
- Nutritional support
- Outpatient clinical referrals
- Referrals to partner organizations
HISTORIC AND PROPOSED USES
A month before his assassination, President Lincoln signed legislation to create a national system of homes for disabled veterans. Established in 1867, the Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home (Soldiers Home) is one of the three original Soldiers Homes in the country. The 90-plus acre district rests on the grounds of the Clement J. Zablocki Medical Center and was designed to be a place of refuge for Civil War soldiers and help ease their transition back to civilian life. One of only 43 National Historic Landmarks in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Soldiers Home contains some of the oldest and most historic buildings in the VA system.
The most iconic building at the Soldiers Home, commonly referred to as “Old Main,” was a domiciliary for patient living and care. Under the current proposal, it would again become a home for veterans as it is renovated into 72 one-bedroom and 8 two-bedroom apartment units. The building will also house community amenities including large community spaces, resource centers, a fitness area, and offices for building management, home healthcare and counseling.
Building 2 renovations are expected to be complete by March 2019.
The “Administration” Building, which once served as the VA center’s main office, will be converted into single room occupancy units, which will provide housing for 14 veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Adjacent areas will be renovated into common kitchen, dining, community and living rooms. The historic post office on the first floor will be reused as supportive program offices. Community and activity areas for supportive services will be housed on the building’s ground level.
Building 1 renovations are expected to be complete by April 2019.
Several duplexes on the ground will also be restored for use as veteran housing, including the former Catholic Chaplain’s Quarters (Building 14), and three private homes that formerly housed Soldiers Home staff and their families (Buildings 18, 19, 62). The Catholic Chaplain’s Quarters will remain a single-family home, with the remaining buildings to be restored as duplexes with two-story, three-bedroom units on each side.
Duplex renovations are expected to be complete by April 2019.