Autumn 2020
Community Advocates Connections

First and foremost, I hope that you and your family members and friends are safe and doing well during this difficult time. It’s become abundantly clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is changing all of our lives and Community Advocates is here to serve those in need during the "new normal." One highlight on our calendar was the 40th anniversary of the Milwaukee Women's Center, a division of Community Advocates since 2007. The MWC's emergency shelter and wraparound programming have enabled thousands of women, men, and families to break free of domestic violence and end the cycle of violence for good. These services are even more vital as so many relationships are strained by the pandemic, uncertainty, and unrest. Community Advocates and our Milwaukee Women’s Center staff are dedicated to supporting individuals and families in need to prevent temporary problems from turning into traumatic life events. Please know that even during difficult times, we are here when you need us.

In gratitude,
Andi Elliott
Chief Executive Officer
Community Advocates
Milwaukee Women’s Center Turns 40
MCW logo
We're happy to celebrate the milestone anniversary of the Milwaukee Women’s Center, which has served our community’s needs for the past 40 years.

MWC was founded in 1980 to support women and children fleeing abusive relationships. In 2007, Community Advocates took over the center's domestic violence, mental health, batterers’ treatment, and substance abuse programs, along with 25 shelter beds. Two years later, the MWC, as a division of Community Advocates, incorporated the Social Development Commission's Family Support Center to alleviate family homelessness. That merger, and our move to our current emergency shelter location on the near South Side, increased the number of shelter beds to 70 for individuals, including children, and provides a safe space for those who are leaving violence in their homes as well as those who are experiencing homelessness. In 2011, the Bottomless Closet joined the Milwaukee Women’s Center Division and provides appropriate work attire and job-readiness skill training to men and women. 
In 2020, as we recognized the Milwaukee Women’s Center's service this October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Community Advocates remains even more deeply committed to helping our friends and neighbors break the cycle of violence.

"2020 has brought new challenges to our doors and in our homes," said Community Advocates CEO Andi Elliott. "Instead of being a place of refuge, good heath, and safety, for anyone experiencing abuse, home becomes a danger zone. Victims face isolation, fear, and physical harm, and often fall back on unhealthy behaviors to cope. We encourage anyone who feels unsafe to contact us for help."

The Milwaukee Women's Center operates a round-the-clock crisis line at 414-671-6140. Specially trained staff and volunteers can answer any question and guide survivors to safety, resources, and support.

"Our dedicated Milwaukee Women’s Center team is here to serve community members who are experiencing interpersonal violence and the unhealthy coping behaviors that often go with it, including substance use disorders," Elliott said. "The Milwaukee Women’s Center truly is where abuse ends and hope begins."
WUWM Spotlights MWC's Nevermore Program
WUWM hosted a discussion with local experts on domestic violence and intimate partner violence to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Steve Thomas, who manages the Nevermore Batterers' Intervention Program, explained why providing treatment and support for male abusers must be part of ending the cycle of violence. Nevermore is an integral component of the Milwaukee Women's Center's holistic domestic violence programming.

Community Advocates’ Services and Resources during COVID-19
While Community Advocates' sites are closed to the public due to COVID-19, we are still providing services and resources to our community members on the phone and via email.

You can get in touch with us in the following ways:

New Energy Assistance Benefit Season
The new Milwaukee County Energy Assistance benefits season began October 1 for eligible utilities customers. This year, the program will look at one month of income to determine eligibility, and households may also qualify for additional benefits, such as weatherization services to reduce their energy usage, or furnace repair or replacement. And to ensure everyone’s health and safety, all appointments will be conducted on the phone. It’s easy to apply! Call 414-270-4MKE (4653) or go to to get details and set up an appointment. The program also created an online application Community Advocates is a proud partner in the Milwaukee County Energy Assistance Program. 
Community Advocates in the News
Community Advocates has been working to protect renters from eviction and instability during COVID-19. In September, the CDC created a federal eviction moratorium for renters who are struggling to pay their rent due to coronavirus. But as we explained to reporters, that temporary ban, while helpful, is not the long-term solution we’d like to see enacted. For example, tenants must apply for rent assistance and present a declaration to their landlord to be eligible for protection under the moratorium; without additional rent assistance landlords aren’t assured of being paid through the end of the year; and the December 31 deadline creates the possibility of a surge of evictions in January 2021.
Local and national media have highlighted our work to ensure that our community members are living in safe, healthy, and affordable housing throughout the pandemic and in the long term. We were especially pleased to hear from the Pettigrews, who were profiled by the Wisconsin Watch and NPR. This family was able to access rent assistance through Community Advocates and improve their housing situation.

Lunch & Learn:
Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center
Monday, November 16
Tune in Monday, November 16, from 12-1:30 p.m. via Zoom for an informational webinar on the Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center. You will learn about the progress made to launch the center and hear from co-partners who are working together on this unique, collaborative effort to improve rental housing stability in Milwaukee.

Since 2019, Urban Economic Development Association (UEDA) has been working to convene a diverse set of stakeholders around the implementation of recommendations to address the impact of evictions as described in the Wisconsin Policy Forum report "No Place Like Home." This effort accelerated in early 2020 as the impact of COVID-19 increased financial strain for tenants and landlords, with a focus on developing a tenant-landlord resource center.

Now known as the Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center (MKE RHRC), this collaborative effort is working to connect tenants and landlords to trusted resources in order to prevent evictions and improve housing stability. The center will leverage expertise and services from nine partner agencies, connect people to rental assistance, legal and mediation services, and provide trusted information on tenant and landlord issues.
Contact if you need assistance with registration.
WhoIsHussain? Helps Out
A big thank you goes out to the Milwaukee chapter of WhoIsHussain?, which has been helping the Milwaukee Women’s Center’s guests for many months. The volunteers and donors have provided about 300 meals, delivered essentially groceries for 75 people, collected and organized clothing, and donated 20 backpacks and needed items for kids and adults. We are tremendously grateful for their dedication and generosity. They have brightened our guests’ days. THANK YOU!
Goodkind Gives Generously
We’re delighted that the Goodkind team is cooking and donating delicious meals for our Milwaukee Women’s Center’s emergency shelter guests. This fantastic Bay View restaurant has been our strong and generous partner for years and we always enjoy everything they cook up for us. THANK YOU!
Klement's Sausage Donates Snack Sticks
In honor of National Snack Stick Day, Klement’s Sausage donated 800 cases of Snack Sticks to a handful of organizations in the greater Milwaukee area, including Community Advocates’ Autumn West Safe Haven and Milwaukee Women’s Center emergency shelter. THANK YOU!
43rd Annual Turkey Club Virtual Fundraiser
Through November 15
Please help out our amazing partner The Turkey Club if you can. Each year the club raises money for turkeys to donate during the holidays, and many of our guests and clients are thrilled to receive their turkey. This year, the usual fundraising is a challenge. Please donate now to share the holiday spirit with our community members. Thank you!
Our Wish List
Our supporters are very generous, but the pandemic has prevented many of our donation drive organizers to cancel their events. At the same time, our guests at the Milwaukee Women’s Center’s Emergency Shelter and our other program participants are in great need of the basics as well as school supplies for their kids. We’re asking our community members to help us provide:
  • School supplies, especially backpacks for all ages, as well as notebooks, paper, pencils, pencil cases, erasers, and rulers
  • Personal care items for individual use, such as shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, denture paste, deodorant and lotion
  • Bedding, including twin sheets, blankets, towels, and wash cloths
  • Diapers for infants to toddlers
  • Socks for boys, girls, men, and women

Please contact Jeri Kavanaugh at to arrange your donation. You can also purchase items on Amazon (if you use Amazon Smile with this link Community Advocates will receive a donation as you shop) and have them delivered directly to us by sending them to Jeri Kavanaugh at Community Advocates, 728 N. James Lovell St., Milwaukee, WI 53233. Thank you for your support!
Good News about CARES Act Stimulus Payments
Our policy advocates have requested changes to the CARES Act to ensure that all eligible individuals receive the $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. Many didn’t receive their EIP because they do not file federal taxes. Happily, the IRS has extended the deadline to November 21 to claim a payment. Go to this portal to check your status and register for your payment.
Giving Tuesday 2020
Put December 1, 2020, on your calendar so you can join the global day of giving, Giving Tuesday. This year has brought stresses and strains we could not have imagined a year ago. We ask for your support on Giving Tuesday so that our community members in need can maintain stable housing, find safety after domestic violence, and sustain their basic needs during a pandemic. Thank you in advance for your support!
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 | 414-270-2999  | |