Lissy’s Place is a haven for homeless and abused women.
Lissy’s Place is the only transitional housing program in this area for single homeless/abused women without children—and women formerly in foster care. Lissy’s Place offers transitional housing, independent living skills, and hope, to young women ages 17.5 to 24. Each year in Milwaukee, 250 young people exit the foster care system without the resources, support system or tools to live independently. These young people are at great risk for exploitation and homelessness including sexual exploitation of minors, otherwise known as human trafficking or even prostitution. Lissy’s Place serves young women exiting the foster care system as well as homeless young women who have not come through the foster care system. Lissy’s Place helps young women end the cycle of poverty and homelessness through the development of educational, financial, health and personal skills to live independently.
Since 2001, more than 400 women have been helped by My Home Your Home and the staff at Lissy’s Place. My Home Your Home provides food, clothing, transportation, counseling, programming and a staff of nearly a dozen employees. It costs about $365,000 a year to operate Lissy’s Place. Government aid covers only about half of that. The rest comes from local foundations and private donors. In fact, government contracts require that we raise substantial amounts from local sources. So, it truly is our local supporters who ensure that the doors of Lissy’s Place remains open for homeless/abused women.
Women find ‘family’ at Lissy’s Place
Lissy’s Place helps homeless and abused women to develop economic self-sufficiency and personal independence. Many of the women who come to Lissy’s Place have never experienced the caring of a real family. Lissy’s Place gives them that experience. We help about 50 women annually. More than 400 have been assisted since Lissy’s Place opened on September 4, 2001. Capacity is 17 women at a time. We have a waiting list. Maximum stay is two years.
Lissy’s Place is unique for its open-door policy. Other homeless and abused programs have stringent requirements that a women have a severe alcohol/drug problem, or a serious mental illness, or have custody of children, or have other characteristics besides homelessness. Lissy’s Place has no such entrance barriers.
According to our most recent report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, about 80% of the women at Lissy’s Place are black/African-American. About 40% are victims of domestic violence. Some have alcohol/drug problems, mental health issues or developmental disabilities. Forty percent came to Lissy’s Place from a homeless shelter. More than half came from living with relatives/friends and had no other place to go. About two-thirds of the women enter Lissy’s Place having no income at all. The rest have meager incomes. Many had been released from foster care at 18, as required by law, even though they lacked basic employment skills. Before finding shelter at Lissy’s Place, they were living as transients, or on the streets.
At Lissy’s Place, each woman has her own room. She must engage in 30 hours of “productive work” each week, which includes medical appointments, schooling, job searches, workshops in self-sufficiency skills and employment. Residents of Lissy’s Place must get a job or enroll in a job-training program within 60 days of moving in. Once employed, a woman pays 10% of her income as a program participation fee and puts $75 a month in her personal savings account. A woman “graduates” from Lissy’s Place by developing life skills, furthering her formal education, obtaining a job, growing a nest egg in a financial institution, and moving into her own apartment. If separated from her children, she may be reunited with them.
Lissy’s Place Success Story
Lissy’s Place has made a significant impact to the individuals it has served. An example of this transformation is Silver’s Story which she wrote (name changed for confidentiality).
My name is Silver. I came to Lissy’s Place after being homeless because of my family situation. This is difficult to discuss. Lissy’s place helped me finish high school. I have my High School Diploma! I then had to get my birth certificate and ID straightened out. I began my job search. I obtained a temp job at Buy Seasons. My goals include going to MATC to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Donations to Lissy’s Place
My Home, Your Home Inc.
6200 W. Center St.
Milwaukee WI 53210-2159