John has been in and out of treatment for his mental illness since grade school. As a young professional, he was a successful journalist for 10 years with Isthmus and 15 years with Shepherd Express in Milwaukee.

After John’s father died, in addition to going through a divorce, John’s mental illness became so severe that he lost his job and he became homeless. Without health insurance, John couldn’t get the treatment he needed and he spiraled further into crippling depression. For 13 years, he was in and out of homelessness.

Two years ago, John received a home through Housing Initiatives.

“The staff at Housing Initiatives have been so supportive. It’s not a bureaucracy – I feel I have a relationship with them. I know I can call them whenever I face a challenge and they will help me.”

An important role that Housing Initiatives plays for John and all of its program participants is connecting clients with the support services they need to not only manage their mental illness, but to simply survive. Housing Initiatives’ staff consider themselves partners in each tenants’ road to recovery.

“After 40 years, I am finally beginning to recover since I have good healthcare and have been accurately diagnosed and treated. Without Housing Initiatives, I wouldn’t have gotten off the streets, I wouldn’t be managing my illness, and I don’t believe I’d still be alive.”