Hunger Task Force calls shuttering of Coggs Center civil rights issue

NOW: Hunger Task Force calls shuttering of Coggs Center civil rights issue

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Hunger Task Force officials say they're filing a civil rights complaint.

Until Sunday, and for the past several decades before that, people in Milwaukee came to the Coggs Center at 1220 W. Vliet Street to get assistance. Now, those services are moving across town to the 6000 block of N. 64th St.

Officials with the Hunger Task Force say it's discriminatory, and they're filing another complaint against the state.

"It's not just a place where you go for food share and Medicaid. It's also a place where elderly, blind and differently abled people come for social services," said Sherrie Tussler, Hunger Task Force director.

She held a press conference outside the shuttered Coggs Center Monday morning.

"People in need of help will come here, as they already have today, and they'll be turned away," said Tussler.

Tussler says people have the right to apply, have their application reviewed quickly, and the right to in-person help, according to federal law.

"A state committee, made up of non-Milwaukee legislators, agreed to lease and approve a warehouse surrounded by barbed wire," said Tussler.

The warehouse at 6055 N. 64th St. is surrounded by tall fences.

Tussler says from the Cobbs Center, you would have to walk four blocks to the nearest bus stop to head off in the right direction.

She says it's the latest in a long line of complaints her organization has levied against the state, reminding everyone there that 40% of the people of color in Wisconsin live in Milwaukee.

"[This is] just one of many intentional and localized practices that the state has engaged in that keeps people from Milwaukee County from getting the same care as their white counterparts in other parts of the state," said Tussler. "So, let's ask the governor to govern the Department of Health Services."

Hunger Task Force officials say the federal government has already cited the state of Wisconsin for food share rights violations and practices in Milwaukee County last year, with over 20 findings of wrongdoing.

Services will resume off N. 64th St. Tuesday.

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