Spring 2020
Public Policy Institute Insights
Friends --

First off, on behalf of everyone at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, I hope that you and your friends and family are safe, healthy, and doing well.

When we created our goals for 2020, we didn’t include "cope with a global pandemic" on our to-do list. But that's where we are right now. Fortunately, the PPI Prevention and Policy teams are able to work remotely and keep working toward their goals for the year with the help of technology and a little creativity. We’re still working with our coalitions and partners, advocating for policies to advance our mission, connecting to resources, providing trainings and professional development opportunities, and trying to lessen the harm of the coronavirus on our community members. We've even brought on Vanesa Carmona-Lewis, who will be managing the Prevention Team and expanding their impact. Unfortunately, though, we've had to cancel or postpone some of our spring events because we aren't able to organize large groups, and that’s very disappointing.

What is encouraging is that the Public Policy Institute has a strong foundation built on sound public health and prevention principles, which we’re relying on as we cope with this public health emergency. Most urgently, that foundation is guiding our work on housing advocacy. Earlier this year, we released our report Home Is Where Our Health Is , which links housing to health and recommends 32 policies to improve rental housing accessibility, stability, and quality.

Now, as we grapple with COVID-19, we are using this base of knowledge to advocate for rental housing policies and resources that will improve both housing and health while also reducing the health and economic harm posed by the pandemic. To learn more about this new aspect of our housing advocacy, I hope you'll join our April 27 webinar on housing stakeholders' responses to COVID-19. 

With best wishes --
Kari Lerch
Deputy Director
Community Advocates Public Policy Institute
Healthy Housing Initiative Launches with
Home Is Where Our Health Is
After two years of in-depth research, analysis, and relationship building, the Public Policy Institute released our report, Home Is Where Our Health Is: Policies to Improve the Health of Renters in Milwaukee and Beyond , in partnership with Human Impact Partners and input from more than two dozen community advisors. The report makes the link between housing and health, with a special focus on rental housing affordability, access, and quality. It also makes 32 policy recommendations to improve health and housing outcomes and reduce disparities in our community to be implemented by local, state, and national officials, as well as community stakeholders.

We owe a debt of gratitude to our generous funders, the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and the Joseph and Vera Zilber Charitable Foundation, as well as our academic partners Marah Curtis, PhD, and Geoffrey Swain, M.D. You can download the full report, the executive summary, and four policy briefs here .

The launch of the report also launches Deborah Heffner into her new role as PPI’s Housing Strategy Director after years of great work as our Grants Manager. As Housing Strategy Director, Deb will be connecting Community Advocates’ housing advocacy and policy, as well as building community partnerships and sustainability to amplify and broaden our work on behalf of Milwaukee’s rental housing stakeholders. 
Community Advocates Responds to COVID-19 and Housing Emergency with New Rental Housing Resource Center
Thanks to the foundation we built while creating Home Is Where Our Health Is , Community Advocates and our partners are working to help tenants and landlords meet their obligations while staying safe and healthy during the pandemic. Although Gov. Evers has issued a temporary hold on evictions during the public health emergency, tenants and landlords are advised to continue paying their bills and to stay in contact if they are experiencing any problems.

Along with our partners Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, Legal Action of Wisconsin, and Mediate Milwaukee, Community Advocates Housing Department has launched a Rent Help Line and virtual Rental Housing Resource Center to connect landlords and tenants with services and resources. To contact them, email RentHelp@communityadvocates.net or call 414-270-4646. 
Healthy Housing Initiative Webinar
Housing Insecurity and Response during COVID-19
Monday, April 27
COVID-19 has taken us into uncharted territory, but one thing is certain: If we do not address housing instability from all angles, there will be a tidal wave of evictions and displacement when current regulations are lifted. On Monday, April 27, please join PPI housing advocates and our community partners as we share the latest information on COVID-19 and housing, the shared goals of tenants and landlords, and potential next steps to produce more housing stability in uncertain times. Housing Insecurity and Response during COVID-19 will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. on Monday, April 27. Space is limited, so RSVP now. Registration is required at this link .
Welcome Vanesa Carmona-Lewis to PPI
We are thrilled that Vanesa Carmona-Lewis has joined PPI as Manager to help our prevention team expand their potential. Vanesa has a long career in human services with a special focus on workforce development and management. Although she began her work at PPI during the Safer at Home order and has yet to meet some of her new colleagues in person, she's keeping on top of things via phone and video calls. You can learn more about Vanesa here
COVID-19 Resources
Community Advocates' priority is the health and well-being of our staff, clients, community partners, and volunteers during the coronavirus public health emergency. Here, we're collecting resources to help promote health and wellness during this difficult time.
Get Counted
The 2020 Census is underway and the most important thing you can do is respond when you receive your invitation. Responding now will minimize the need for the Census Bureau to send census takers out into communities to follow up. Go to my2020census.gov to be counted.

Community Advocates
2020 Board of Directors
President: Jodi Wire | We Energies
Vice President: Bryan House | Foley & Lardner, LLP
Treasurer: Sandra Samse | Johnson Keland Management
Secretary: Sharon Jordan | Direct Supply

Board Members
Sheree Dallas Branch | The Salvation Army
Anne DeLeo | Community Volunteer
Natasha Dotson | Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative
Valerie Gabriel | Community Volunteer
Erin Henry | Northwestern Mutual
Betsy Hoylman | Northwestern Mutual
Gary Ingram | Igary Events
Pamela Klein | Fresh Coast Partners, LLC
Jim Liedtke | Community Volunteer
Ashley Pavlic | Medical College of Wisconsin
Kate Venne | Brady Corporation
Lisa Kaiser | Community Advocates Public Policy Institute | 414-270-2999  | lkaiser@communityadvocates.net | ppi.communityadvocates.net