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News: Housing

Soaring into stability with people who care

August 3, 2017

by Raven Feagins Millions of people across the country are unable to work most jobs and earn an income due to disability or other challenges. For these folks, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are available to help supplement, but the application process is known for being nearly impossible to navigate. This inspired the creation of the...
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Ava's Change4Youth collects votes to raise visual awareness of youth homelessness

April 19, 2017

Young activist Ava Santos-Volpe, age 12, is a girl on a mission. While working on a class leadership project two years ago, Ava asked a youth homelessness advocate to visit her school to discuss Chicago’s youth housing crisis. After learning more, Ava decided she needed to help — but didn't know how. That summer, while on a family trip to Florida, she spotted a parking meter collecting...
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Amplified: Out of the ER and into stable housing

March 5, 2017

This article highlights the successes the AIDS Foundation of Chicago achieved in 2016. Read more about our work in our  Annual Report . Glenn Baker is a 44-year-old Chicago native who currently works doing food prep for a catering company. He has a very calm demeanor, tends to keep to himself and is even self-described as anti-social. However, Baker's magnetic personality...
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Pharoh empowers youth experiencing homelessness

February 24, 2017

by Raven Feagins Pharoh Swain is a soft-spoken, yet passionate young person from Chicago's West Side. I met with this 22-year-old for the first time in the lobby of Center on Halsted, where he formerly worked as an intern during the summer. Now, Swain currently serves as president of the new All Chicago Youth Advisory Council, which seeks to guide organizations to better understand...
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One year later: youth housing advocate Kasey White on Trump, self-care and the Sleep In

February 16, 2017

Almost a year ago, AFC readers met Kasey White, an energetic advocate for youth experiencing homelessness in Chicago. Ahead of this year’s   youth   housing project fundraiser   Out in the Open Sleep-In , which White has supported since its first iteration in 2015, we wanted to check in with White to see what she’s been up to, and where she sees herself...
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In conversation: AFC's housing leadership shifts in a promising moment for housing and health care

November 16, 2016

At the end of September, Arturo Bendixen retired from his role as the executive director of the Center for Housing and Health, a supporting organization for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago that has focused on innovative housing models to shift the landscape of supportive housing in Chicago and across the U.S. Art worked at AFC and the Center for a combined 13 years. Taking his role as the Center’s...
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The metamorphosis of recovery

September 12, 2016

By Jennifer Moreno, CADC To honor National Recovery Month, we asked AFC’s Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) to reflect on the difficult road to recovery. Since July 2015, Moreno has conducted health assessments for 42 of AFC’s housing clients who are regular or recovering users of drugs and alcohol, and she has developed treatment plans with 23 clients...
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A different type of homeless

June 20, 2016

by Mirhanda Alewine The AIDS Foundation of Chicago's Corrections Case Management program aims to support detainees living with HIV as they transition from incarceration, providing them with case managers to help connect them to care and housing. Darlene Davis divulges her experiences with incarceration and HIV, explaining the impact of her corrections case manager. What does...
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Kasey White: A leader and advocate for youth experiencing homelessness

June 7, 2016

by Malary Gregory Kasey White is a student and advocate for homeless youth in Chicago, specifically those who identify with the LGBTQ community. She has been featured in the documentary Homestretch, which followed three homeless youth living in Chicago as they navigated completing high school and building their futures. In 2014, she was awarded with the Windy City Times’ 30 Under...
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Jeanette seeks a place to call home

May 26, 2016

by Eryn MacNeil The apartment is dimly lit, but spacious. There isn’t much decoration, but it’s well-kept. It’s a short walk up in a neat brick building on a tree-lined street. Today, the shades are drawn, but on the weekends the apartment is filled with children. Jeanette Thomas spent several years being homeless, battling addiction, and was recently diagnosed with breast...
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By Ashley Brown 

 

Lillian Weir is a natural activist, whose strong beliefs and voice rise up to fight for what is right. For years she has marched in the Chicago Pride 

Parade, right in the thick of the crowd, waiving a flag and dancing in support of the rights of marginalized communities nationwide. She’s also loaned her innate activism to the C

hicago Teacher’s Union, the Women’s March in Chicago, marriage equality and for acceptance of all gender identities and sexualities. And she’s accomplished all of this by the young age of 13.  

So, when an opportunity to fundraise for AIDS Run & Walk Chicago presented itself, Lillian jumped at the chance. Lillian and her mother Cynthia both walk and fundraise for the Season of Concern team, a Chicago-based non-profit that provides care and support for those in the entertainment industry experiencing health-related emergencies and medical issues, including HIV and AIDS.

For Lillian’s first walk in 2016, even the rain couldn’t dampen her enthusiasm. Both Lillian and her mother were impressed by the energy, excitement and camaraderie of the teams and the sense of unity and acceptance that permeated the air. Lillian was particularly impacted by the diversity of identities represented.

“I believe people should be represented, so that was a really good experience for me,” she recalls. 

In particular, Cynthia remembers her daughter’s infectious enthusiasm.  

“She didn’t walk the 5k walk, she ran it,” recounts Cynthia with a laugh. “She would run ahead and we wouldn’t see her and then she’d run all the way back because she was so excited and having such a great time. Lillian jumped up at the end of the event and said ‘Let’s do this again every year; this is our tradition!’” 

Lillian agrees, and particularly remembers the excitement of creating a tangible impact for those living with and vulnerable to HIV to allow them to live with dignity and purpose. 

“The general experience of being there was enlightening,” Lillian remembers. “I thought it was incredible to be a part of that.” 

Lillian is excited to continue her involvement into 2017 and beyond, and hopes to continue to raise more funds and get more people involved in the fight to end new HIV infections and health inequity. While Cynthia helps her run her fundraising page, Lillian sets the goals and creates unique incentives to get people excited to give, including a home-cooked meal for people who give more than $100, as well as an original artwork by Lillian for the top contributor. She also spreads the word to family and friends and excitedly monitors her fundraising progress before the big day. To date, Lillian has already surpassed her fundraising goal. 

But despite her passion and dedication, Lillian is modest about her involvement and believes that everyone should stand up for what they believe in, regardless of age. 

“I don’t think age matters,” she says. “If you believe in something, you should protect it and defend it. Stand up for what you believe in.”