Volunteers deliver $20,000 in donated housewarming baskets to St. Anthony Apartments

MILWAUKEE – About 100 volunteers from across southeast Wisconsin packed and delivered baskets of household items to all 60 units in the newly-renovated St. Anthony Apartments. St. Anthony Apartments is a $13.8 million adaptive reuse of the former St. Anthony Hospital into supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness or those with very low-incomes. Along with each basket, each volunteer group signed and delivered a hand-made “Welcome Home” card to each unit.

Throughout the fall, individuals, businesses, schools and faith communities donated hundreds of new, unused household items such as kitchen utensils, plates, cups, laundry baskets, toasters, shower curtains, bathroom rugs, cleaning supplies and similar items with an estimated retail value of more than $20,000. Thousands more were raised through a GoFundMe campaign to provide for ongoing needs.

“We are very grateful for the support of so many in making this possible,” said Br. Rob Roemer, OFM Cap, executive director of Capuchin Community Services.

“This is what makes this place a home,” Michael Goldberg, vice president and executive director of Heartland Housing, told volunteers as they got ready to pack and deliver goods.

Br. Steve Kropp, OFM Cap, provincial vicar for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph offered a blessing to the volunteers and staff present, as well as the future tenants who will live in the building.  

St. Anthony Apartments are developed and managed by Chicago-based Heartland Housing. JusticePoint will partner with Heartland Housing in order to provide supportive services to those living in the 60 apartments. In addition, Capuchin Community Services will be supporting other Milwaukee community members in new facilities located within the renovated property.  Services will include a new clinic, a warming area for those taking part in community meals at St. Ben’s, showers, laundry facilities, computer access and other services for those experiencing homelessness in our community.

A public dedication and ribbon-cutting of St. Anthony Apartments is expected to take place in early 2019.

St. Anthony Hospital was opened in 1931 by the Capuchins to provide medical, surgical and maternity care to the surrounding predominantly African American neighborhoods of Milwaukee. The hospital closed in 1988, later serving as a Milwaukee County correctional facility. The building went vacant in 2009. It is expected to reopen in late November 2018 with the first tenants moving in after Thanksgiving.

St. Anthony Apartments is listed on the national and state registers of historic places for its significance to Milwaukee’s African American history. Among the volunteers delivering housewarming baskets were a retired nurse who was employed at St. Anthony Hospital, and a volunteer who was born in the hospital’s maternity ward.


Capuchin Community Services, with locations at St. Ben’s Community Meal, the House of Peace and Capuchin Apartments, serves people who are poor, hungry, or homeless.  www.CapuchinCommunityServices.org

ABOUT HOUSE OF PEACE: House of Peace assists families and individuals in meeting their spiritual, material and emotional needs. House of Peace helps families remain together while promoting self-sufficiency. It provides food, clothing and pastoral care to the poor. In addition, House of Peace is home to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Community Nursing Center and Marquette University Legal Clinic.

ABOUT ST. BEN’S COMMUNITY MEAL: St. Bens Community Meal has been Milwaukee’s largest regular potluck dinner since 1970. Dozens of organizations (including churches, temples, and mosques) provide hot, homemade dishes six days a week to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Over 2,000 meals are served each week. Additional ministries include Columbia-St. Mary’s St. Ben’s Clinic that provides prevention-focused health care to those who can’t afford it, as well as St. Benedict the Moor Parish and jail ministry. All ministries are located at 9th and State Streets. 

Capuchin Community Services is part of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, headquartered in Detroit, and part of the worldwide Roman Catholic order of Friars Minor, Capuchin.  www.TheCapuchins.org    


Heartland Housing, Inc., a subsidiary of Heartland Alliance, is a community housing development organization which facilitates the development of people through the preservation and creation of affordable and supportive housing, with a priority in meeting the needs of those facing homelessness, those with very low-income, and those with chronic disabilities.


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SOURCE: Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph