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(877) 426-6515

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(847) 782-4000

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Catholic Charities Administrative Offices - (312) 655-7000.

Catholic Charities Social Services - email GetHelp@catholiccharities.net, or call (312) 655-7700 in Chicago or (847) 782-4000 in Lake County and someone will assist you. Call volume is extremely high so email is recommended if you are unable to find what you need on the web site.

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HIV/AIDS Services & Ministry

                           Help | Hope | Compassion

Tatiana

Tatiana is a 40-year-old Hispanic female from Mexico who moved to the United States over a decade ago. Although she lives alone, her mother and two sisters live in Chicago with other extended family members. She is a waiter in the area she resides. She was diagnosed with HIV in 2006 and suffers from mental health issues.

She entered Catholic Charities HIV/AIDS Program in July of 2014 and was assigned to this Case Manager (CM) in December of 2015 when the previous CM left the program. At that time, Tatiana was participating in a residential substance abuse treatment program.

Initially interruptions in service due to non-compliance in program requirements made building a relationship challenging. She receives her medical care at a Chicago clinic and was having difficulties with attending appointments. Her journey in building rapport and establishing consistency has been a long one.

She overcame challenges of emotional abuse and heavy drinking with a previous partner and has been sober for almost one year. She has been able to focus more on her own health and wellbeing. She had to find a new apartment as she became unemployed when the restaurant where she worked closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since she does not have legal status, securing a new job has been another challenge.

In the past two years, Tatiana has kept all scheduled appointments with her CM to insure services without interruption. The CM assists her in many ways: with transportation to the agency for appointments with her CM and to utilize the food pantry and food cards and with transportation to HIV medical and mental health/substance abuse therapy appointments in Chicago; with housing and rent assistance with referral to the Catholic Charities Emergency Assistance Program (EAP). The CM in the EAP assisted her in getting all of the documents necessary for her rental application, even driving to her home to get her signature on one of the documents. She was several months behind in her rent. She was able to return to work in July, but with fewer hours, so she worried again about her bills. The EAP CM helped her to avail a fund which would pay up to 3 months rent, which covered her back months and put her in good standing with her landlord. Luckily the landlord was understanding and agreed to wait for payment until she could get the needed financial assistance or return to work.

In the past, Tatiana has participated in mental health services with Catholic Charities. However her work schedule often made it difficult to come to the agency. She is currently receiving all mental health and substance abuse services through her medical clinic. Since making this change, her participation has been better because the sessions are monthly and even over the phone if she cannot get into Chicago.

While awaiting approval of her rental application, Tatiana shared with this CM during a monthly call-in, that a friend helped her to secure another job for more than 35 hours a week. She stated that made her feel safe and that she knew that everything would soon be okay with her housing situation. She stated that she felt like she could se a light at the end of the tunnel. Shortly thereafter she was approved for the rental assistance through the EAP.

She is aware that there is a long way to go and that the COVID-19 pandemic will not be over any time soon, but knowing that Catholic Charities is about helping the community, including those who are undocumented, made her hopeful.

Tatiana has worked hard and has met success as a client in the HIV/AIDS Program. She adheres to all of the requirements and if there is something which her CM needs, such as medical lab results, she will have them drawn the same week to meet the program requirements. This CM and Tatiana continue to speak monthly for well being checks ins, medical adherence, as well as updates and concerns.

CLIENT NAME HAS BEEN CHANGED TO INSURE PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Osvaldo

Osvaldo is a 41-year-old who joined the HIV program at Catholic Charities in 2016. When he first came in for services, he had recently been diagnosed with Depression and HIV. Osvaldo has gone through a few hardships as he came from Mexico without any of his family members but one sister. He has struggled to create close relationships with his other siblings, who are in another state, as they would often reject him because of his sexual orientation. Being “Macho” is a common characteristic that is expected of men in his culture and Osvaldo would not display any, therefore, he would often be neglected. This caused Osvaldo to become isolated and afraid to speak to others preventing him from creating healthy relationships. Through the hardships of coming from being neglected and coming from an abusive past, he has successfully become engaged in cosmetology. This is one of his passions that he has a great talent in, and he has continued to pursue this passion by working in a hair salon with a lot of dedicated clients.

Osvaldo came in to Catholic Charities when he was referred for case management services after he was diagnosed with HIV. Since then, he has engaged in our Behavior Health (BHS) program where he is receiving individual counseling and is part of a psychosocial group as well. Osvaldo has utilized our services greatly by participating in the BHS services, by attending our Care Cupboard Food Pantry and by participating in case management services and events. He has made the effort to attend events that are hosted for HIV positive clients, and he has developed healthy relationships with the members in the psychosocial group. This has allowed Osvaldo to open up and no longer be afraid to speak for himself. In the beginning of his enrollment with case management, he would often not speak unless spoken to and would not show any emotional response. Four years later, he now smiles as soon as he walks through the doors and he engages with others. Osvaldo has expressed that Catholic Charities has opened a lot of doors for him as he is now comfortable in his own skin. Osvaldo has often stated that, “Everyone at Catholic Charities is very nice and welcoming, I always enjoy coming here.”

Wanda

Wanda is 35 years old and came to Lake County from Chicago for a transitional housing program in Lake County. Wanda was diagnosed with HIV ten years ago and receives prescription, insurance and housing assistance with the help of her Catholic Charities’ Case Manager (CM) by completing regular eligibility assessments. Wanda is compliant with her medications and attends her medical appointments regularly. She struggles with mental health issues that she is addressing with a mental health provider. Wanda is also recovering from meth addiction and attends 12 step meetings. Since moving into the transitional housing program seven months ago, Wanda’s housing and recovery are now stable with the help of the core services provided through the housing program, such as occupational therapy, mental health and recovery groups, and food vouchers. Wanda currently has legal issues out of state that she is hoping might be able to be transferred to Illinois. CM referred Wanda to Prairie State Legal Services for potential assistance with this, and Wanda was thankful for the CM’s assistance.

Wanda is currently unemployed but receives unemployment benefits. Wanda shared with CM that she has worked for a non-for-profit agency in the past and loved working in that field. She stated that she wants more time of sobriety under her belt before she goes to work to make sure that she is able to keep the job. Wanda reports that she has started to submit resumes to become gainfully employed. Catholic Charities and Wanda’s transitional housing program are providing Wanda with the support and resources she needs to remain stable in her sobriety as she works towards obtaining self-sufficiency. Wanda is thankful for the support that she is receiving from both of her CMs.

CLIENT NAME HAS BEEN CHANGED TO INSURE PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Gabriel

Gabriel is a 47 year old man who was diagnosed in another country in 2003. Gabriel does not know how he was infected. He shared that his wife was sick, but he never found out if she was HIV positive, although she did pass away from medical complications. Gabriel had a difficult time getting HIV treatment in his home country because he lived far away from a main city. He was out of care for 6 years.

When Gabriel came to the United States, he decided to enter treatment because he knew it would extend his life. In 2015, Gabriel attended his first HIV medical appointment and was referred to Catholic Charities for case management. Gabriel did not share much of his personal life at first. It took some time to build rapport and for Gabriel to open up to the CM.

Gabriel was interested in receiving food from the Care Cupboard and transportation to medical appointments. When hearing of this Catholic Charities program, he felt a sense of relief as he does not want to burden anyone, especially his brothers, who are married with children to care for.

During meetings with his, Case Manager, (CM), Gabriel slowly started to share more about his personal life. Gabriel was interested in having a relationship with someone again, but he was scared about transmitting HIV to someone else. The CM provided the client with information about HIV. Utilizing motivational interviewing, the CM encouraged the client to meet with a health educator at the health department. After meeting with a health educator, the client entered into a relationship and due to the education he had received about HIV, was able to communicate with his partner about PrEP medication, and his partner started this regimen.

Gabriel will express his gratitude to the program and the services offered often. He is appreciative of the medical health insurance offered with IDPH through the HIV program at Catholic Charities. Gabriel is a great participant and very involved with his care, and he is compliant with clinic visits as well as case management services. He has stated also that he is lucky to be involved with an agency that does not discriminate with documentation status and language barriers.

Aria

The Medical Benefits Coordinator (MBC) met Aria at the Lake County Health Department. Aria is an individual diagnosed with HIV in the late 90’s and has been struggling to maintain consistency with taking care of her health due to substance use. Aria has a great responsibility in her hands –she has to take care of himself and her mother who is ill. She has been referred to Case Management in the past but has not followed through when Case Managers have attempted to provide services.

When the MBC first walked into the medical room, Aria was in a hunched position looking down. The MBC introduced herself to the client, and explained her role as a Medical Benefits Coordinator/Medical Case Management Liaison at Lake County Catholic Charities. She presented Aria with the services that Catholic Charities provides and offered her the opportunity to join as a client. When the MBC informed Aria about the transportation services and the opportunity to obtain food through the agency, her face lit up. The client had been paying to use a taxi service to get to her medical appointments. The MBC learned that Aria is currently suffering from many medical issues that cause her to attend medical services frequently. The MBC emphasized that Catholic Charities can assist our clients with transportation for their medical appointments because we know how significant it is for clients to attend to their health frequently. Aria loved the idea and asked the MBC to help her sign up with Case Management services at Catholic Charities. Aria also informed the MBC that she does feel lonely and would like to gain social support. The MBC provided him with a list of support groups that exist at Catholic Charities and she expressed interest in attending one in the future.

One of the Case Managers at Catholic Charities was assigned Aria’s case when she was referred by the AIDS Foundation, and she has become linked to Catholic Charities for services. Since she has been linked for services, she has utilized transportation for medical services and been referred to mental health services. It is exciting to see a client who previously did not engage in services feel that the time was right this time-it is also a testament to the compassionate services that the MBC and Case Managers provided that she linked to services and was comfortable enough to disclose the needs she has.

Mateo

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.

CLIENT NAME HAS BEEN CHANGED TO INSURE PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Sydney

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.

Ways to Change Lives

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Phone: (312) 655-7525
Email: donations@catholiccharities.net 
Mail:
721 N. LaSalle, Chicago, IL 60654