Geoffrey and his wife lost everything in the fire. Their apartment was ruined, and they were forced to move into a hotel, which they could just barely afford on their limited income. Geoffrey was a disabled Army combat veteran. His daughter called the Veteran’s Affairs office in Milwaukee to see if there was anything they could do to help her father and mother. They told her to contact the Milwaukee Homeless Veteran’s Initiative.
MHVI helped Geoffrey find an apartment and then provided furniture, appliances, cleaning supplies, food and more free of charge. Now Geoffrey and his wife are living in their new home.
“He’s been through a lot,” says Debbie Buchanan, the executive director at MHVI, “He was so grateful that we were there for him. We have many stories like that.”
MHVI was founded by a group of Vietnam veterans in 2008 to help homeless and at-risk veterans in southeastern Wisconsin. They provide food, household supplies, and financial help to veterans like Geoffrey. Their outreach teams go out onto into the city to find homeless veterans and offer their services.
Buchanan says MHVI, “fills the gaps” when it comes to serving veterans. Some of the military members the organization serves are not eligible for VA benefits, and MHVI steps in to provide those services, including emergency food and ongoing case management to help veterans plan long term goals and help ensure they have housing in the future.
“Our mission is to serve anyone who wore the uniform,” Buchanan says. “We want to take care of them. If our organization didn’t exist, many of those people would fall through the cracks.”