Fleeing domestic violence in Chicago, Ameenah Joiner and her two young children relocated to Milwaukee in hopes of finding a better life. The family had been living in a transitional shelter run by the United Methodist Children's Services until December, when a brand new supportive housing apartment building opened up next door.
The four-story Washington Park Apartments development was financed through tax credits, county and city housing dollars, foundations and private donations. It was designed to provide a stable and a supportive environment to help single mothers get their lives on track.
Joiner remembers excitedly the moment she received keys to a three-bedroom apartment in the building:
"December 22 at 4 p.m. I got the keys," she says, smiling. "It was awesome. It's something new -- a place where I can start fresh, literally. It's amazing."
Residents of the Washington Park Apartments can use Section 8 federal housing vouchers to pay for a portion of their rent. Joiner has been working with on-site social workers, who are helping her reach her educational and career goals, so she can become self-sufficient. Joiner is close to completing her GED and hopes to peruse a career as a police officer. In the meantime, she works as the family resource coordinator at United Methodist Children's Services, helping to run the organization's food pantry.