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Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008

Applause for Empowerment Village

Colleen Dublinski, Wisconsin Community Services

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Dear Shepherd Express Editor,

I read with great interest Lisa Kaiser’s article “A Field of Dreams, Competing Visions for Housing and River Restoration.” I have first-hand experience placing individuals with chronic mental illness in housing, which is not an easy task. Often, landlords end up providing the much needed supervision and act as emergency contacts. However, with Empowerment Village, a partnership between Our Space and Cardinal Capital Management, to turn an unusable parcel of land into a housing development for individuals with mental illness can only be applauded. It appears Cardinal Capital Management is addressing the environmental groups and taking into account how to use the riverfront land in a friendly manner (ie: extending the bike path) and at the same time, provide safe, affordable, supervised housing for a population that is truly in need of good housing.



Certainly, Empowerment Village and the City can progressively show how individuals with mental illness can be good members of a neighborhood and utilize the amenities the neighborhood provides. I have personally seen how once stable and affordable housing is gained for these individuals, subsequently other aspects of their lives become more stable. Empowerment Village will enhance the lives of this population and hopefully, reduce the stigma of mental illness.



Colleen Dublinski

Clinic Director

Wisconsin Community Services, Outpatient Mental Health Clinic