Hope House appoints Weckler interim executive director

Wendy Weckler will lead the Hope House of Milwaukee as interim executive director following the resignation of executive director Ken Schmidt, who has been at the helm of the nonprofit for 17 years.

Schmidt, who also helped form the organization in 1987, is resigning for “personal reasons,” said Dan Schley, board president.

The Hope House, which assists homeless and low-income individuals with residential services, opportunities in education and community outreach, has been devising a transition plan for several years, according to Schley.

Weckler has been an “instrumental” part of that process, he said.
Weckler has served the organization for the past 14 years, most recently as the deputy director of the emergency and transitional living facility, located at 209 W. Orchard St. in Milwaukee.

“She is fully prepared to lead the organization as we continue to serve Milwaukee’s most vulnerable citizens,” Schley said.

A committee assembled by the board will guide the organization’s leadership transition as well as its strategy in helping Milwaukee’s homeless and low-income populations.

Weckler will be interim executive director for a maximum of six months, Schley said. He hopes to have an operational plan structured well before that.

“Ken has been a great leader, and I am honored to follow in his footsteps,” Weckler said. “At the same time, I eagerly anticipate working with the staff and board to continue our mission.”

Among Schmidt’s career highlights at the nonprofit was a partnership he helped launch among the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Milwaukee Department of City Development, Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, and Friends of Housing to redevelop a building at the Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home into housing for individuals with disabilities and homeless individuals. Additionally, he is credited with growing a partnership with Mercy Housing Lakefront and Milwaukee County to convert the former Johnston Health Center into permanent housing for homeless individuals.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the executive director of Hope House,” Schmidt said. “I will always advocate for our community’s most vulnerable citizens, and I‘m looking forward to continued involvement in making the Milwaukee area a great place to live for all of its residents.”

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