How Revitalize Milwaukee Is Helping Seniors Age in Place

This time of year, many Milwaukeeans have gifts on their minds – not just for their loved ones, but also for their most loved causes.

This story is taken from Milwaukee Magazine‘s 2019 Charitable Giving Guide. We found 20 deserving nonprofits for you to consider supporting this holiday season. 

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Brenda, a 59-year-old veteran who suffers from PTSD, rarely leaves her home due to severe social anxiety. One bitterly cold February weekend, her furnace stopped working. She did not have the money for repairs and had to wait until Monday to contact the VA. But she was just over the income limit for energy assistance, so the VA could not help.

She called Revitalize Milwaukee, crying.

A team from the 19-year-old nonprofit dropped off space heaters, called around trying to secure resources and eventually sent a contractor to fix the furnace. “I was so grateful to have heat again!” Brenda says.

Revitalize Milwaukee provides critical modifications and other repairs to people’s homes so they can remain in them. It is the largest provider of free home repairs to eligible homeowners in Southeast Wisconsin. Sixty-seven percent of Revitalize Milwaukee’s clients are older adults (average age of 67), but it also helps people with disabilities and veterans.

“We don’t just do home repairs, we prevent foreclosures, hospitalizations and catastrophic consequences,” says Lynnea Katz-Petted, chief executive officer. “This stabilizes neighborhoods and the city tax base.”

Revitalize Milwaukee’s services include minor electrical and plumbing repairs; accessibility modifications such as grab bars, handrails and non-skid tape on floors; repair or replacement of water heaters; door and lock repairs;
and porch repairs.

“Safety for elderly people in their homes is a serious issue, ” says Katz-Petted, noting that more people in Wisconsin die from injuries related to falls each year than from car crashes. “Through our program, elderly homeowners receive immediate, effective solutions that keep them safe, save them money and allow them to age in place with dignity.”

This Story is part of the December issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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