February - March 2023
Community Advocates Connections

Happy Spring! Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our programs and services.

You may know that Community Advocates began in a small North Side storefront in 1976 to help community members with their basic needs, primarily tenant/landlord issues, and has grown to serve individuals and families who need help with stabilizing their housing, fleeing domestic violence, coping with behavioral health issues, accessing energy assistance, participating in job training, and much more.

But you may not know that last year, almost 100,000 individuals and families came to us for help -- and got it.

That's right. As our society and economy began recovering from the pandemic, a startling number of people needed temporary help with their basic needs so that they could stabilize their household and live in dignity.

If you can, please consider helping us to serve our fellow community members during our 48 Hours of Giving campaign, from March 21 to March 23, when contributions will be maximized thanks to our generous Match Sponsor, Direct Supply, and Community Advocates' Board of Directors and Executive Team. Your gift will help us to serve those who are experiencing street homelessness, those who want to transition into our Autumn West Safe Haven, participants in our Supportive Housing programs, and others who need assistance with the basics in life. These life-changing programs and services are vital, especially when so many individuals and families are vulnerable to the whims of the economy or ill health.

As always, we thank you for your care and concern and welcome your input and support. 

In gratitude,
Andi Elliott
Chief Executive Officer
Community Advocates
Join Community Advocates,
the Milwaukee Women’s Center,
and the Public Policy Institute
from March 21 through March 23
to make a difference in someone’s life!
Please consider making a donation during our
48 Hours of Giving Campaign!
You will be able to double your support for Community Advocates' life-changing services when you donate during our 48 Hours of Giving, from 10 a.m. on March 21 to 10 a.m. on March 23. The first $20,000 in donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar courtesy of our Match Sponsor Direct Supply and Community Advocates' Board of Directors and Executive Team.
Here's how you can help:
  • Please visit our website to give online. Please select 48 Hours of Giving 2023 on the "Select the Destination of Your Contribution" drop down menu.
  • Donate via our Facebook page or set up a Facebook fundraiser for our work.
  • Please share this with your friends and family members and ask them to consider making a donation.
  • Mail a donation to: Community Advocates, Attn: 48 Hours of Giving, 728 N. James Lovell St., Milwaukee, WI 53233.

On behalf of Community Advocates, the Milwaukee Women’s Center, and the Public Policy Institute, we appreciate each and every one of you!
Light & Unite Red Week
Ignite Hope, Inspire Community, Rise Together
FREE Family-Friendly Events
March 20 - March 26
Join the RISE Drug Free MKE Coalition partners in shining a light on the value of living substance free during Light & Unite Red Week, March 20 through March 26, throughout Milwaukee County. This year’s theme is "Ignite Hope, Inspire Community, Rise Together."

RISE Drug Free MKE encourages community members to check out no-cost substance-free events in person and virtually, including family-friendly events, community resources, and workshops on mental health awareness and wellness. And don’t forget to check out the Hoan Bridge on Monday, March 20, when it’ll light up red!

The Light & Unite Red events align with National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week, which stresses the importance of knowing the impact of substances on an individual’s body, mind, and spirit. Plus, local landmarks will light up red to show their support for community members who are working on their physical and emotional wellness.

The week also marks the launch of the RISE Drug Free MKE Coalition, formerly known as the Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (MCSAP). RISE Drug Free MKE’s refreshed and repurposed mission is "to raise awareness of substance (mis)use, and, through inclusive education, elevate our entire community, from our youth to our elders, out of the harms caused by substance (mis)use."

RISE Drug Free MKE and partners are organizing a variety of FREE activities throughout Light & Unite Red Week. RSVP now for:

  • Family Skate Night at Petit National Ice Center, March 21
  • Family Movie Night to watch "Shazam! Fury of the Gods," March 22
  • Family Discovery Event at Discovery World, March 23

Plus Grab 'n Go, Mental Health and Wellness workshops, Mindful Gratitude, AODA Bingo and AODA Jeopardy, the Annual Youth Summit, and much more!
ECOM Workshops for Advocates
April 19: Harm Reduction & AODA Services
Community Advocates Public Policy Institute is happy to organize the Empowerment Coalition of Milwaukee (ECOM) Workshops for Advocates.

This monthly information-sharing and networking event is designed for social service providers who want to learn more about services in Milwaukee for consumers and partners.

The next ECOM workshop will be held on Wednesday, April 19, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, to discuss harm reduction and AODA services. Fee is $5 per workshop, which will be held the third Wednesday of each month in person (location to be determined). Registration is required by registering on PPI's website. Questions? Contact Lauren Faulds at lfaulds@communityadvocates.net
Wisconsin State Budget Panel Discussion
Rep. Goyke, Sen. Hutton and Sen. Johnson
Monday, March 27
The 2023-2025 Wisconsin State Budget has the power to impact each Wisconsinite in the next two years and beyond on issues that are central to our community. Hear from Greater Milwaukee legislators who will vote on it, and make your voice heard in this intimate, bipartisan gathering on March 27.

Community Advocates Public Policy Institute is hosting a panel discussion with State Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), State Sen. Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield), and State Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 27, in our Downtown offices, 728 N. James Lovell St., Milwaukee.

Panel discussion topics will include:
  • Housing affordability and stability
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services
  • Tax credits for low-income individuals and families
  • Subsidized jobs

The panel discussion will be moderated by Community Advocates Public Policy Institute’s Senior Policy Advocate Julie Kerksick, who will provide the audience the opportunity to ask questions after the legislators speak on our main topics.

Doors open at 3:30 p.m. on March 27; the discussion will begin at 4 p.m. sharp. Light refreshments will be served. Registrations are required at the link below by March 24. If you require special accommodations, please register by March 22 and indicate your request where prompted on the registration form.

Questions? Contact Julie Kerksick at jkerksick@communityadvocates.net.
Easter and Mother's Day Meals Needed
We are looking for individuals or groups who could provide and sere dinner on Easter and Mother's Day at our Emergency Shelter. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. We have a commercial kitchen and the meal can be prepared at our shelter or brought in fully cooked and heated up at the shelter.

Expect to provide food for about 70 people, about 35 adults and 35 children. All visitors must wear a mask, and a rapid COVID test will be administered upon arrival. Plastic gloves will be provided. If interested, please contact jkavanaugh@communityadvocates.net. Thank you!
Walk In for Housing Help
woman with moving boxes
Our Housing Department has resumed its ability to help community members in person without an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome in the Rental Housing Resource Center, located in Community Advocates’ downtown offices at 728 N. James Lovell St., Milwaukee.

  • Monday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Tuesday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You can also find available rentals in Milwaukee and surrounding areas on our website. We update the listings every week on our website and Facebook page.
We Are Here to Help Tenants & Property Owners

If you have questions about an application status or need to pick up or drop off documents, we are here to help. The Emergency Rent Assistance Program is open to the public 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at our downtown offices, 728 N. James Lovell St., Milwaukee, for those who prefer to come in person. You can email renthelp@communityadvocates.net.

The Milwaukee RHRC Triage Team accepts walk-in appointments Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Community Advocates offices, 728 N. James Lovell St., Milwaukee. The RHRC Triage Team can assess your situation and make referrals so you can get the help you need. You can also email info@renthelpmke.org or visit the RHRC website for more information.

Are you a landlord and need help? Email landlord@communityadvocates.net
Energy Assistance Season is Here
Colder weather has arrived, and with it is the need to keep your home warm and safe. Fortunately, the Milwaukee County Energy Assistance program will help eligible residents save money on their utilities bills and weatherize their home. Go to keepwarmmke.org or call 414-270-4653 (4MKE) to learn more about the program, schedule an appointment, or apply online. Community Advocates is a proud partner in this vital program.
Mental Health & Wellness Workshops & Resource Guide
We are offering Mental Health and Wellness workshops for our community members on Mental Health First Aid for adults who work with youth, verbal de-escalation techniques, trauma and the brain, and suicide prevention. Check out our online calendar and register today! To schedule a session for your workplace or organization, contact Rita at rliesiefsky@communityadvocates.net

In addition, you can find our Mental Health & Wellness Resource Guide on our website. The guide includes special sections with resources for families and youth, by/for People of Color, crisis lines, survivors of domestic violence, LGBTQ+ individuals, Spanish speakers, and more.
Community Advocates’ Wish List
Can you help Community Advocates and the Milwaukee Women's Center meet the needs of our program participants? We serve families and individuals who have experienced homelessness or domestic violence, and most of them come into Emergency Shelter or our Autumn West Safe Haven with few belongings. We're currently seeking these items for our guests:

  • Snow pants for toddlers to teens
  • Hoodies for toddlers up to adults
  • Jackets of all sizes, from toddlers to adults
  • Hats, scarves, gloves, mittens
  • Twin sheets
  • Blankets
  • Socks, boys and girls, men and women
  • New underwear for all ages, from toddlers to adults
  • New pillows
  • Tennis shoes for boys, girls, men, and women
  • New or gently used towels
  • School supplies
  • Pots and pans, utensils, dishes, blankets, and other household items

If you are able to give, please reach out to Jeri at jkavanaugh@communityadvocates.net to coordinate delivery of your donation. Thank you!
Community Advocates’ Services and Resources
You can get in touch with us in the following ways:

Community Advocates
2023 Board of Directors
President: Bryan House | Foley & Lardner, LLP
Vice President: Sharon Jordan | Direct Supply
Treasurer: Sandra Samse | BDO
Secretary: Natasha Dotson | Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative

Board Members
Sheree Dallas Branch | The Salvation Army
Anne DeLeo | Community Volunteer
Valerie Gabriel | Community Volunteer
Gary Ingram | Igary Events
Pamela Klein | Community Volunteer
Jim Liedtke | Community Volunteer
Alexandra Urrutia-Comas | Advocate Aurora Health
Kate Venne | Brady Corporation
Jodi Wire | We Energies
Lisa Kaiser | Community Advocates | lkaiser@communityadvocates.net | communityadvocates.net