The Milwaukee Soldiers Home campus announced on March 22 that it has leased half of its available supportive housing units to veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

The significant milestone comes just days after the first residents moved into the recently restored buildings on the campus. The restoration project returned six historic buildings to the service of veterans, which together provide 101 housing units across the Soldiers Home campus.

“We’re honored to collaborate with a strong team of community partners to return a piece of national history to the service of veterans,” said Eduardo M. Garza, Jr., President of The Center for Veteran’s Issues. “Our nation’s veterans are in critical need of resources and support, and we’re eager to connect with and welcome the next 50 veterans to this community as the leasing process continues.”

Among the six historic buildings, the restoration of the iconic Old Main building created 80 one- and two-bedroom apartment units that provide permanent housing and wraparound support services for veterans and their families. As Soldiers Home residents, veterans enjoy large community spaces, a resource center, fitness area, counseling services, and health care available through the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

The Administration Building, which has been converted into single-room occupancy units, offers common kitchen, dining, community and living rooms. Several duplexes on the grounds have also been restored for use, including the Catholic Chaplain’s Quarters that is a single-family home, and three buildings that were restored as duplexes with two-story, three-bedroom units on each side.

“This is really exciting, especially to see the Veterans come in and make a new home,” said Christine Taber, a social worker who is assisting the new tenants. She is one of two social workers who will work full time in the building, assisting Veterans. “We hope this becomes a great place for them to develop community and make the most of what the VA has to offer. There’s been a lot of work and effort by a lot of people to make this happen.”

Opened in 1869 as housing for Civil War Veterans, the facility on the grounds of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center once again serves as a home for Veterans. Efforts of a nearly 20-year campaign to save the grand building, which was shuttered in 1989, culminated when a handful of Veterans moved into their new apartments.

The multi-year restoration project was led by The Alexander Company and the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM). All residents of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home have access to a range of supportive services, provided on-site by the Milwaukee VA Medical Center HUD-VASH Program.

Veterans who qualify to live in the Soldiers Home will pay approximately 30% of their income in rent. Units in The Administration building come fully furnished for veterans requiring additional assistance. Nearly 40 Veterans have been accepted to live in Old Main via the HUD-VASH program.