Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin

Serving Veterans with the dignity they deserve.

Racine, WI   |  http://www.vetsoutreachwi.us

Mission

Our mission is to assist homeless and at-risk Veterans strive for normalcy in life by providing food, clothing, shelter, and other basic human needs.

Ruling year info

2014

Executive Director

Jeff Gustin

Main address

1624 Yout St

Racine, WI 53404 USA

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EIN

46-4449307

NTEE code info

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

Other Housing, Shelter N.E.C. (L99)

Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations (P80)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Veterans Market

Our weekly Veterans Market has been providing food resources at no charge to over 400 Veterans in the Racine County area since 2014. We also include any family dependents in their household when giving provisions.

Despite having an existing food pantry, we realized that there were many Veterans in our Racine community who still went hungry and even more who are marginalized from available community and Veteran resources for a variety of reasons. Lack of understanding of available services, language/technology/transportation barriers to accessing services and the shame some Veterans feel about what they feel is a stigma associated with reaching out for help are just some of the things that keep servicemen and servicewomen from getting the support they deserve.

Recognizing that we could do even more here at Veterans Outreach, we purchased a commercial property across the street from our existing VOW site and began the process of creating a food pantry expansion and resource center embedded with elements of trauma-informed design. The result is a beautiful space that at 1609 Yout Street. The phrase “food pantry” has been eliminated in the rebranding of the new facility, replaced by an invitation to Veterans in need to join their peers in weekly provision-selections and fellowship in the Veterans Market.

In addition to expanding the range of grocery items offered, we set up the Market with wider aisles, grocery carts, trauma-informed lighting colors and choices, a reception area full of information about applicable partner resources, staff trained to facilitate connections to other services, volunteer Veteran mentors, a computer station for client usage and a beautiful, sunlit conference room for offering guest speakers and group meetings- all with the guiding design principles for trauma-informed care.

Population(s) Served

Our upcoming Ten-Hut! Cafe will see us transform an unused space at our Racine, WI, development into a community cafe managed by the formerly homeless Veterans who reside in our tiny home village. Participants have journeyed alongside staff through each element of the business start-up phase and will soon welcome community members with treats baked both by them and by the Veterans of Troop Cafe, a business operated by our friends at Center for Veterans Issues in Milwaukee. Collaborating with other organizations is a hallmark of our outlook.

Our newest program aims to provide Veterans with the job skills and entrepreneurial experience needed to gain confidence and independence.

Population(s) Served

We are in the final stages of development before construction begins on the Gary G. Wetzel Veterans Village, a 40-unit tiny home village and 10,000 sq. ft. community center/resource plaza for Veterans in the Greater Milwaukee Area. The new village, located at 60th and Greentree, will bring the successful homeless recovery program of our Racine project to a city faced with an epidemic of Veteran homelessness. In addition to beautiful homes created with trauma-informed design, spacious gardens and an indoor plaza full of resources and recreational amenities, VOW will be offering a space to our community partner- CVI Milwaukee- to bring their top-notch Veterans services to the development. All in all, the Village will be a place of sanctuary for Veterans experiencing homelessness and a one-stop base for Veterans across the region to access mental, physical and employment opportunities.

Population(s) Served

Our original 15-unit Racine, WI, tiny home village for Veterans experiencing homelessness opened in 2017. In just three years, we have already graduated 13 residents to more traditional housing with healthy savings accounts, restored credit scores, jobs and a renewed sense of health and wellness. In addition, we operate a Veterans Market (free to participants!) serving almost 400 Veterans (over 1,000 people in total as household members are included) experiencing food insecurity in SE Wisconsin.

As the first and most successful project of its kind in Wisconsin, VOW has been recognized nationally as a model for other communities. From presenting to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami, Florida, to our current partnership with the City of Milwaukee to construct 40 tiny homes and a 10,000 square foot community center and complimentary Veterans Market at 6767 N. 60th Street (opening date: 2021), our homeless recovery program aims to set the bar for how Veterans in crisis are treated. Core to our mission: meeting our Veterans at their point of vulnerability with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Building tiny homes is simply the foundation of the program. Once a resident no longer has to worry about where he or she will sleep or eat that day, they are able to start thinking beyond the moment. They start hoping, dreaming and planning for the next chapter of their lives. That is where our wraparound services come in- financial literacy classes, Veteran peer support groups, weekly wellness activities (meditation, yoga, field trips), job facilitation, service hours to engage them with the broader community, and on and on. We want graduates to know that they are no longer just one paycheck away from a return to homelessness.

We accept no federal funds for our program. Instead, we are completely community funded. That is just one of several reasons why your support is so greatly appreciated. It will have a direct and immediate impact upon the lives of Veterans experiencing homelessness and insecurity.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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Financials

Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin
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Operations

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Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin

Board of directors
as of 2/25/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Matthew Vachalik

AT&T

Term: 2020 - 2021


Board co-chair

Trevor Morgan

American Family Insurance

Term: 2020 - 2021

Rob Bozio

Case New Holland Industrial

Laura DeGroot

Perfect Balance Accounting

Les Hedrington

Country Meadows Group Home

Steven Klein

SC Johnson

Tim Shea

Van's Electric Service

Mark Sorensen

Racine Police Department

Zachary Zdroik

Racine County Veterans Services

Tim Lawrence

Custom Express, Inc.