United Way Success Story: Waukesha Catholics
After losing his job and experiencing a number of health issues, Fred found himself cooped up alone in his small studio apartment surrounded by junk mail, VHS tapes, and old exercise equipment.
“The apartment had been like that for about five years,” remembered Fred. “But it was only when I was there all the time that I realized it was a problem.”
Fred had once enjoyed socializing and getting out of the house to exercise but, after a battle with cancer and alcoholism, he began to isolate himself from the outside world. Looking around, he saw that his life was filled with what most people considered ‘junk,’ but Fred believed this clutter was the only constant in his life.
Then one day, Fred’s kitchen sink broke. For most, it would just be a simple phone call to the landlord to have him come in and replace it, but Fred feared what would happen if his landlord saw the condition of the apartment. “I realized I had to make a change or I was going to get evicted,” said Fred. The task ahead of him was daunting. He would have to sort through years of overwhelming clutter in order to bring his apartment back to a livable condition. Fred reached out to Waukesha County Department of Health & Human Services for help and was referred to Catholic Charities’ Hoarding Intervention and Treatment Program, funded in part by United Way.
“United Way funds this program because it is the national leader in hoarding intervention,” said Krystina Kohler, United Way’s Financial Stability Portfolio manager. “Some problems in our community are obvious, but so many problems lie behind closed doors. Hoarding intervention is eviction prevention and it brings environmental and emotional safety to individuals and their families that are suffering in silence.”
For the rest of Fred’s story and more like it please see United Way’s website.