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HIV/AIDS Services & Ministry

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Sydney, a 32 year-old white female who identifies herself as part of the LGBTQ community, has been living with HIV/AIDS for over five years. About a year ago, the Medical Case Management Liaison (MCML) met Sydney at the Lake County Health Department during her HIV doctor’s appointment. The MCML talked to Sydney about case management and other services Sydney would benefit at the Lake County Catholic Charities.

As the MCML talked to Sydney, she learned that Sydney had recently moved to Illinois from Ohio. Sydney was born and raised in the Lake County, Illinois area. She came back because she knew Lake County would be the only place with people who would help her start over again. Sydney initially lived with her partner, but was later asked to leave, and became homeless. Sydney then began doubling up with friends and/or family.

Sydney’s goals were to get a full-time job and have her own apartment. Sydney was interested and enrolled into case management services at the Lake County Catholic Charities. Sydney’s Case Manager guided her and provided referrals when needed in order for Sydney to get back on her feet. Not too long after, Sydney was able to obtain a full-time job and was approved for an apartment. However, Sydney needed help with security deposit. Her Case Manager assisted Sydney to obtain funds through the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

A couple of months later, Sydney lost her job. Sydney contacted the MCML. The MCML referred her to her Case Manager for assistance. Sydney informed her Case Manager that she was losing her apartment and would become homeless again. Her Case Manager referred Sydney to AMITA, Health Housing Program, a program which works with HIV positive clients.

Sydney called a couple of weeks later thanking the Case Manager for the referral and let the Case Manager know that the Housing Case Manager at AMITA – Health is working with Sydney on keeping the apartment and enrolling her in their Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program. Sydney thanked the Case Manager for helping her to avoid homelessness once again.

Sydney later obtained a part-time job and was able to continue paying for rent and bills. Sydney and her Case Manager continue to have monthly contact for updates on her medical adherence, housing, employment and any other needs which may present.

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 Mateo entered the Catholic Charities (CC) HIV/AIDS Case Management program in the fall of 2017. He was homeless and had not been in care for over a year. His viral load was high, putting his health at increased risk. Before entering the program he had lost his job and eventually was evicted.

He entered the program with hopes of receiving assistance with housing and gaining medical stability. He was in a local shelter and had just finished his first medical appointment the day CC received his referral from the shelter. He was working with the housing case manager (cm) there, looking for possible housing opportunities in the area but did not qualify due to income. He had worked part-time periodically but could not find anything steady that he could keep long term.

The CC cm learned about the availability of a new scattered site grant and the point of entry would be the local shelter. This cm immediately informed Mateo so that he could get on the list. Once Mateo submitted some specific information about his health status, he was on the list.

Although the process and wait were long, he did not give up looking for work and eventually accepted a job working night shifts. With his persistence and the help of the housing cm, following the lengthy interview and application, he was accepted and granted an apartment unit.

However, his challenges continued. He had an old unpaid electric bill for $250.00 that would prevent his moving into the unit. The funding assistance from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago had been exhausted in providing for his security deposit. He informed his cm that he would pay rent so that he would not lose the unit.

The CC cm received information that a local church wanted to help a few people with issues which local funding could not assist. After discussing Mateo’s journey with the volunteer, assistance was granted and Mateo was able to continue the electricity and could move into the unit.

Mateo was so grateful to CC, the local housing provider, the church and his CC cm. All he could do was say “Thank you” over and over. He is currently in his unit and attempting to get his life back in order. During last month’s meeting with his cm, he stated that he is taking his HIV medication daily and is feeling better. He is looking into the Care Cupboard Food Pantry hours so that he can begin receiving food weekly now that his housing is stable.

The client’s name has been changed to insure confidentiality.

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