Monday, February 19, 2007

overheard: an old friend helps find housing for the homeless and mentally ill

"Andrew DeFranza has been trying to find homes for people in Milwaukee with mental illness for a couple of years now. He knows the way it works around here. He's learned the refrain.

Yes, some of those places are real hellholes. Rats. Broken toilets. Sometimes, there's no water or heat. But where else are you going to put a guy with schizophrenia and a criminal history who gets $600 a month in Social Security? Good luck finding a landlord with a decent building who will take in someone like that.

DeFranza, the executive director of Milwaukee's Guest House, is not buying it.

"I'm not Midwestern nice," said DeFranza, 33, a New Jersey native who looks more than a little bit like a young Robert DeNiro."



g13 said...

i should also add that andrew and his beautiful wife megan also provided housing for the gentry family as well. our condo on judson was originally owned, and lovingly rehabilitated by them.

i've said it before, but it bears mentioning again: i am constantly amazed by the people i have met upon the way of Jesus.

i suppose i should also add that i've never looked at andrew and thought: "oh, look, a young vito!"

james said...

Man i miss that guy. If ever there was a guy who lived the definition of and American "patriot," Andrew is the man.