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Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund's Heat for Heroes Program Keeps the Heat and Power on and Avoids Crises and Homelessness for Struggling Veterans in Need.

State of WI ESI-Keep Wisconsin WarmCool Fund Collaborating Together to Battle the Summer Heat and Keep Veterans Safe in the Home

During KWW/CF’s 20th Anniversary Year, partnerships with the State of Wisconsin work to help Veterans through “Welcome Home” initiative and keep others safe during Wisconsin’s latest heat wave

Recognizing that keeping the heat and power on is a major factor in driving veterans into homelessness and evictions and really hurting their long-term economic stability, the Governor’s office – Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, DOA Secretary Scott Neitzl and his Division on Energy, Housing, and Community Resources staff, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs John Scocus – came together with county agencies, Veteran Outreach Recovery Program and Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund’s Heat for Heroes campaign to establish a “Veterans Come Home” program to provide that critical survival safety net for those veterans that are facing a homeless crisis situation. The program was established in mid-July.

“This was designed to work within the existing networks hand in hand with the county Veteran Service Offices and energy assistance agencies, the continued care organizations, and others with the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund-Heat for Heroes around the state on a county level to provide for that immediate intervention to restore those utilities or to prevent disconnections, evictions, or the impact on the homeless from occurring and collaborate with other veteran organizations who are committed to preventing homelessness,” says Energy Services Inc. Executive Director Tim Bruer.

The goal is, ultimately, to keep our struggling military Veterans facing an energy/housing-related crisis safely in their homes. Heat for Heroes has already played a major role statewide in intervening with thousands of cases that are being referred from the health care industry and county Veteran Service Offices, energy assistance agencies, Veteran Outreach Recovery Program, and other Veteran advocacy organizations. According to Bruer and others, we are beginning to see an unprecedented increase in calls for crisis assistance generated from Veterans reaching out to avert emergency situation from occurring.

Through the successful collaborative efforts of those stakeholders directly involved with “Veterans Come Home”, they have provided that bridge between preventing homelessness, eviction, and keeping the heat and power on for those Veterans most at risk throughout Wisconsin.

With the government limitations placed on the “Veteran Coming Home” funds, the generosity of the donors towards KWW/CF and Heat for Heroes has played a major role in providing the assistance necessary to literally prevent energy emergencies from occurring and offset homelessness amongst our Veterans in need.

“We’re seeing positive effects of our aggressive outreach from Heat for Heroes where it’s not uncommon for us to receive over 200 calls a day from veterans alone who are often isolated or rural or with pride being a barrier, haven’t been able to come forward in the past,” Bruer says. “We’ve really called upon Wisconsinites who know of proud neighbors, family and friends in need who are struggling with high energy costs to contact the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund at 1-800-891-9276.”

We’re hopeful that based on the success of this initiative, we’ll be able to expand our ability to respond to the growing number of Veterans unable to afford to keep their heat and power on during next summer’s blistering heat.

 

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