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Making an Impact in Milwaukee

Impact is celebrating 60 years of helping Milwaukee county and 9 other surrounding counties. They started as a resource for those suffering from alcoholism and drug dependence and expanded to include information on housing assistance, food insecurity, healthcare, utility assistance, disability information, trauma and mental health issues.

In this video as part of our community spotlight, John Hyatt of Impact tells Anthony Karls of Sterling Lawyers, LLC how they provide essential resources to struggling members of our community. “ One of the things we need to convey to people is that ‘I have the time for you, I care about you, I’m going to listen really closely and I’m going to help you.’ And that has to be genuine and sincere.” It’s as easy as calling or stopping in to get the care you need.

Impact is a private non-profit organization that helps people take the first steps towards stability and getting their life back on track. The people at Impact are thoroughly trained on how to respond to any kind of personal crisis, from how to help a family find food or shelter right away to dealing with the impact of alcohol and drug abuse with oneself or their family.

Milwaukee, the third poorest big city in America, has a poverty rate over 25%. Many of these people are one bad situation away from joining the roughly 1,000 homeless on our streets. John Hyatt, President and CEO of Impact Inc., says, “Many people are having to make the tough decisions of ‘What do I sacrifice, where do I sacrifice’” in order to make ends meet. Despite the common misconception, this is not just a city problem. These are the kinds of issues and situations that Impact Inc. has been working with for many years. Their database, which covers about 25,000 resources, covers the entire 9 counties in southeastern WI.

Poverty can be seen as the root cause of most of the issues that face our communities today. It does not just affect one individual or one family, it stretches from one generation to the next, creating a socioeconomic pit that is next to impossible to escape. A research project put together by the Family-Informed Trauma Treatment Center says, “Families living in urban poverty often encounter multiple traumas over many years. They are less likely than more affluent families to have access to the resources that can help.” It is families like this that Impact strives to be an asset for. As the conversation about trauma has become more prevalent in mental health treatment, it has become necessary that Impact also addresses and includes resources for those suffering from it. Whether the experience stems from physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, or violence, John states, “Almost 70% of the people that we’re working with have experienced trauma in their life.”

One of the primary issues that Impact addresses is the effects of substance abuse. Whether it is concern for yourself or a loved one, it is a difficult situation to navigate. When left unchecked, Alcoholism and drug abuse erodes the very foundation of a person’s life, starting with physical and mental health and eventually making its way into personal relationships.

The physical health effects of alcohol, such as liver disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, blood pressure, and many more are taught as early as middle school health class. The mental health issues, however, are much less publicized, and some you would not know about until you experience them for yourself or through a loved one.

A few of the mental health effects of alcohol are depression, aggression, anxiety, antisocial behavior, and shame. These mental health problems can eventually pose a threat to the safety of yourself and the safety of others. The staff at Impact are no stranger to these circumstances and do their very best to direct people to the resources that they need. John says, “ One of the things we need to convey to people on the phones is that ‘I have the time for you, I care about you, I’m going to listen really closely and I’m going to help you.’ And that has to be genuine and sincere.”

Ultimately, the goal of Impact Inc. is to connect people to resources that they need, to help you find a better way to live your life and support your family. If you would like to support Impact and the important work that they do, consider donating, take a tour of their facility, or spread the word to your family and friends, you never know who might need them.

Learn more about Impact Inc. by contacting them:

6737 W Washington St
Milwaukee, WI 53214
(414) 256-4808

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