Speaking with Victor, you would not know the journey he has taken that leads to where he is now. Just a few years ago, he started seeing images and hearing sounds that he believed were God. Suffering from a severe mental health issue, eventually, he lost his job, which resulted in homelessness and an inability to manage his symptoms and medications. His issues climaxed suddenly while dining in public. “I don’t remember exactly, but I caused a scene in McDonald’s,” Victor shared. “The police came and took me to the hospital, [and] from that point on it was one hospital to the next.”

Victor was a patient at 10 different hospitals. Not having Medicaid or Medicare, he could not afford to stay at a nursing home. He would alert hospital staff to the fact that he was homeless and did not have a family to turn to; however, they discharged him anyway. Victor found a nursing home willing to accept him and assist him with obtaining SSI. Though, once his funds came through, the nursing home only provided him $30 of it a month to live on. He was dissatisfied with his lifestyle, particularly not having rights to his own privacy or independence. Victor confesses that “I didn’t like that they kept my whole check.” So, “When I was told about Moving On, I thought it was good because I’d get my own place.”

Yearning for an opportunity to live on his own, Victor learned more about Moving On, a referral program of the Chicago Housing Authority designed to provide housing options for nursing home residents who feel ready to live independently. This program connected Victor to Association House’s Behavioral Health – Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) program. At Association House, he learned how to build social, economic, vocational, and independent living skills and prepare to participate in the greater community. And with his participation in the PSR program, he also learned to understand his particular mental health issue, manage his symptoms and medications, and schedule regular appointments with our on-site psychiatrist and physician. Association House’s Healthy Lifestyles program inspired him to develop cooking skills and know more about healthy dietary habits – where he focused on getting more active and losing weight.

“With Victor, it’s a huge change,” Yvette, his PSR counselor attests. “He’s a very smart individual! It’s nice to see him act on his goals and aspirations because at one point he did not.” Yvette also credits Association House’s programs for allowing many to aspire to and plan for independence. That is where we find Victor now. After graduating from the PSR program, he is earning his GED and plans to continue his education in computer science and IT.

Victor still regularly meets with his PSR team. “Victor has made great progress,” Nydia, PSR program supervisor explains. “He was once very isolated and withdrawn, and is now able to engage with others in his community, and seeks opportunities to better his future.”

Victor’s story exemplifies Association House’s mission. He is a friendly, self-starting and engaging man, who has accessed many of our resources to improve his mental and physical health & wellness, education, and economic opportunity. He is on a path to live a better life.