People Living With Mental Illness

Community Advocates Milwaukee Wisconsin

All too often, people experiencing mental health crises end up in the back of a squad car on the way to jail or a hospital emergency room. These outcomes can be both traumatic and costly, but there are better alternatives.

Since we know a high percentage of those who are homeless are also living with mental illness, Community Advocates dedicates behavioral health staff to working with these individuals exclusively.

Homeless Outreach Nursing Center

Our Homeless Outreach Nursing Center provides person-centered outreach and engagement to individuals with mental illness who are chronically homeless and living on the streets, in vacant buildings, under bridges, or in parks. Clients are assessed by nurse and social worker advocates and are provided services to assist them in stabilizing their mental and physical health and homelessness. Those who qualify may be referred to the Autumn West Safe Haven.

Our outreach team is unique in Milwaukee in that all are clinicians and licensed to diagnose and treat mental illness. 

In 2016, Community Advocates Homeless Outreach Nursing Center staff made 1,660 contacts with homeless individuals. They also provided case management services to 40 formerly homeless clients who are in permanent supportive housing as part of the Housing First initiative.

Read more about the Homeless Outreach Nursing Center's work in this Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service article.

Autumn West Safe Haven

Autumn West Safe Haven is a low-barrier housing refuge for individuals who are chronically homeless and experiencing severe and persistent mental health challenges. This program is an alternative to emergency shelter and designed to provide safe, short-term housing along with supportive services, including peer support, for residents as they transition out of homelessness. Autumn West embraces Housing First and Harm Reduction principles. Its 20 apartment units in the heart of the city are a safe haven for those needing support as they find permanent homes.

Of the 58 individuals served by Autumn West in 2016, 78% were off the streets and safely housed at the end of the year.

In this video, Autumn West Safe Haven Program Manger Carrie Burkham explains what Autumn West is all about.



Project Bridge

The Project Bridge/Autumn West Housing Program helps those experiencing both chronic homelessness and mental illness. Founded in 2007, this Housing First program provides immediate access to safe and affordable

housing to 120 Milwaukee residents who have been identified as experiencing chronic homelessness and living with a disability. This program provides case management services that employ up-to-date best practices such as Trauma-Informed Care, Motivational Interviewing, and Harm Reduction to help program participants achieve housing stability. The average length of stay for residents currently in programming is four years and eight months.

Bob's Story

Bob was homeless for many years. His favorite sleeping spot was near the courthouse downtown, where a vent in the sidewalk provided some warmth. Watch this video to find out how he found a sleeping spot with four walls and a roof, and to see how being homeless affected him as a person.

More About Community Advocates and Our Clients

What Are Basic Needs?

Community Advocates in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Community Advocates helps people meet their most basic needs -- like a roof over their heads, the lights and heat on at night, and healthcare for their kids. Meet Eloise and Marty, two grateful individuals who have been helped ...

Who Do We Serve?

creating partnerships at Community Advocates in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Community Advocates' services touch over 50,000 people each year. Click here to learn about who we serve