Erik successfully graduated St. Olaf College in chemistry and french literature and lived abroad in France several times. After college, he was hired in an environmental chemistry lab. Erik suddenly began to suffer from hallucinations and mental illness shortly after taking the job. He was laid off and asked to leave the housing coop he helped start and had been living in. Erik found himself jobless, homeless, confused, and very sick. For 10 years, Erik had 15-16 hospital visits and was in and out of institutions trying to manage his mental illness. It was a nightmare. Two years ago, Housing Initiatives took Erik in.

“Housing Initiatives is my saving grace. I love living here. It’s a quiet, safe place where I’ve been able to heal my mind.”

Erik’s life has dramatically changed since coming to Housing Initiatives. After being in and out of hospitals for 10 years, he’s been recognized as a Backyard Hero for his volunteering with the local Sierra Club, he’s enrolled in a computer assistance training program at Madison College, and he’ll begin seeking employment this December.

“Housing Initiatives allows people to be as good as they possibility can be. They give people a stable foundation to succeed in life. I just keep getting better and better. I would be on the street or in a hospital if it weren’t for Housing Initiatives.”