Success Story Photography is a powerful way to showcase how a non-profit or business is really moving the needle in their community. Here in Milwaukee, United Way uses Success Story Photography to convey the human element that sits behind every donation made.
Ever’s story is a unique one. His journey took him from New York to Milwaukee; from an apartment to his car and back to an apartment and mentally unstable to emotionally strong.
Research shows that social determinants of health – like access to housing, quality education, employment, nutrition, and social support – have double the impact on length and quality of life than clinical healthcare alone.
The Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, in collaboration with United Way, has made addressing social determinants of health a priority by funding resources and services at Community Health Clinics like Sixteenth Street that ensure patients have their basic needs met.
In August of 2017, the air conditioning 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 was forced out of his freezing cold apartment and moved into his car.
“I was still paying rent because they told me they would move me into a new apartment when one opened up,” says Ever. “I really didn’t know what else to do, and it was hard to keep up with my medications while living out of my car.”
Eventually, Ever separated himself from these negative influences, got a job in Milwaukee and started a family. But when his daughter passed away, he became depressed and anxious. After a run in with police, Ever went to jail. That was the catalyst for getting the help he needed.
Ever remembers his lawyer telling him “’You’re not a bad guy, but you need mental health support.’”
“He was right,” said Ever.
Ever got a psychiatric evaluation and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. 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.
“Ever is his biggest resource. He is a survivor, resilient, he is New York tough with a Midwest heart,” remembered Ana. “But at that point, he had done everything he could. He needed secure housing in order to manage his health.”
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