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Success Stories

Community Advocates serves 65,000 vulnerable Milwaukee residents a year. Learn how these individuals achieved success.

Lynn was admitted into the Milwaukee Women’s Center’s emergency shelter after enduring verbal, emotional, economic, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of her spouse of 15 years. The last incident caused her so much pain that she decided to leave for good, even though her spouse had control of their finances and did not allow Lynn to have any money.

“I’m not a conventional artist,” Willis explained. “People like my work because it’s different from what has been shown all the time, I guess. I have to be different. I have no other choice.”

Isabelle was at her wits’ end. She and her husband had just called it quits. On top of that, he left her with an outstanding We Energies bill in his name. She agreed to take over the balance, but had no success putting the bill in her name. “I was in a hole and only saw the dark,” she said.

Jim Liedtke, who is enrolled in our Project Bridge program and also serves on our board of directors, says Community Advocates' work is truly life-altering. “Community Advocates itself, its mission, is changing the fabric of society,” Liedtke said. “It’s changing the way people think. It’s amazing.”

Imagine dealing with a spinal injury and the many grueling surgeries you must have to be able to walk again and live without pain. Now imagine recuperating from those surgeries while you are experiencing homelessness and living in a shelter. That’s the unimaginable situation Michael found himself in a few years ago.

Finding a good apartment wasn’t a big dream, but it seemed to be out of reach -- until Kaia sought help from Community Advocates’ Housing Department in December 2017.

Community Advocates sprang into action over the holidays. Staff revamped an underused conference room at the Autumn West Safe Haven so that it could operate as a warming room for up to four individuals at a time. “We wanted to get them to come inside and save their lives — quite literally,” said Andi Elliott, Community Advocates CEO.

In the summer of 2014, Carol* reported to an adult daycare staff member that she did not want to stay in her home because she was being abused by her husband of 25 years. He kept her confined in the house and she didn’t know how much income she had because he controlled all the money. Her story was reported to a nurse who referred her to the Milwaukee Women’s Center (MWC) shelter.

Donny had been addicted to cocaine for more than 19 years.

When he was 37 years old, he realized his addiction would be a never-ending problem for the rest of his life – even though he had always considered himself a functional user.

He was fed up with his current life, and he says his four children motivated him to make positive changes for his and their future.