In August of 2017, the heating and A/C system in Ever’s Milwaukee apartment broke down. Ever tried everything to encourage management to fix it, including an offer to do the work himself. When his heating was still broken in December, Ever moved out of his freezing cold apartment and into his car.
“I was still paying rent because they told me I could get a new apartment when one opened up,” says Ever. “I didn’t know what else to do, and it was hard to keep up with my medications while living out of my car.”
Born in New York City, Ever experienced mental health challenges as a kid. After moving to Milwaukee, he found himself in trouble.
After years of silent struggle, Ever got a psychiatric evaluation and was diagnosed with a mental illness. Soon after, Ever began meeting with Ana, a social worker at Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, a United Way-funded program partner and member of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership.
Ana helped Ever centralize all of his medical services – including physical and mental health and social support– at one clinic. “Now, Ever has a team around him who work together to address every aspect of his health and wellness,” said Ana.
When Ever told Ana why he was living in his car, she took action – calling and meeting with the management company to advocate on his behalf. When that didn’t work, she connected Ever with Legal Action of Wisconsin.
Research shows that social determinants of health - like access to housing, quality education, employment, nutrition, and transportation - have an even greater impact on length and quality of life than clinical healthcare alone.
Through the Health Improvement Fund, the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership and United Way collaborate to address social determinants of health.
In March of 2018, Ever moved out of his car and into a new apartment. Now, he is back in his routine of taking his medication, and meets with his doctors and Ana regularly.