Help end homelessness by supporting long-term solutions.

Key to Change is a local campaign created to assist homeless individuals within our community. Key-shaped parking meters have been repurposed to raise awareness of our community's quality of life programs and collect donations for both short and long-term assistance. 100% of all donations go directly toward housing assistance and support services.

Key to Change efforts fund downtown Milwaukee's first Homeless Outreach Coordinator.

Beth Lappen has been hired as downtown Milwaukee's first Homeless Outreach Coordinator. The position has been funded for one year thanks to Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 and its funding partners. Help us reach our goal of $225,000 to secure Beth's position for three years. Learn more.

A Tale of "Tails" Helps Key to Change

A book about a dog named Bob is helping to end homelessness. “The Adventures of Bob and Downtown Milwaukee,” depicts a tale of “tails” as Bob explores landmarks throughout the city. All proceeds from the book benefit Key to Change in memory of Joe Weirick.



1. Housing First in Response to COVID-19 Crisis

These emerging funds would be used to help Milwaukee’s most vulnerable population during the coronavirus pandemic. Funds would be utilized to purchase food, cleaning supplies, bus vouchers, clothing and more.


2. Rental Application Fees/Security Deposits

The first step toward permanent housing is the completion of a rental application and the submission of a security deposit. Be the hero who helps individuals begin the journey toward stabilization.


3. Move-In Kits

Household essentials are needed for participants in the Housing First program. Items such as linens, furniture and cookware are supplied to help participants lead independent lifestyles.


4. Downtown Homeless Outreach Coordinator

With a consistent presence downtown and access to an outreach vehicle, this full-time staff person works on the front lines helping individuals get off the streets, and is a point person for other homeless-related issues.

2,000+ homeless individuals already placed through Housing First

Since 2015, Milwaukee County Housing Division has placed over 2,000 homeless individuals into permanent supportive housing through its Housing First initiative. The local program maintains a 96% retention rate. Meanwhile, national figures indicate approximately 84% of chronically homeless individuals maintain housing longer than 12 months*.

*Stefancic, A. + Tsemberis, S. J Primary Prevent (2007)


To elevate awareness of our community’s quality of life programs, which are key in effectively assisting citizens with mental health and substance abuse issues, and improve the quality of life for Milwaukee citizens and its visitors.

The Key to Change campaign is the result of a collaborative partnership among Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21 (BID #21), Milwaukee County Housing Division, City of Milwaukee, Marquette University, Milwaukee Police Department, the City Attorney’s Office and District Attorney’s Office. The campaign is also supported by other downtown neighborhood organizations and associations.


This website was created to accept cash donations only to help support Milwaukee County Housing Division’s Housing First outreach staff. No direct housing services or funds are available on this site.

If you are experiencing a housing crisis, you can access coordinated entry services by calling 2-1-1 or 1-414-773-0211 or 1-866-211-3380 for assistance at any time or day of the week.