Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor



Lending Hands for Life: Help in Humboldt Park
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 3660 times since Sat Oct 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

For decades, Erie Family Health Center has provided help in a variety of medical, social, and cultural areas for Chicago's citizens. There are branches of the center in different neighborhoods, including a teen-centered facility at 1523 W. Chicago. However, the facility in Humboldt Park is distinct in that it houses The Lending Hands for Life program.

Lending Hands for Life is Erie's bilingual HIV awareness, prevention, treatment and care services program. Among the services it provides are case management, behavioral health screening, substance abuse treatment and nutritional screening.

If people have not heard of the 15-year-old program, that is not surprising to some. Jarret Thompson, Lending Hands's director, said that it has only had the name for a couple of months. Before the facility's consumer advisory council changed the title, it was simply known as the HIV Program, a nondescript ( and decidedly non-confidential ) moniker. 'I was very concerned with making sure our clientele had its confidentiality kept intact,' Thompson said. 'Also, a lot of clients didn't want 'HIV, HIV, HIV' thrown in their faces every day.'

Thompson describes the program's mission as 'providing high-quality care to the Humboldt Park and West Town communities.' However, something that sets Lending Hands ( and Erie ) apart from many other agencies and centers is that people can receive the proper care regardless of their ability to pay. 'We work with our patients to make sure that we investigate every possible venue for them to secure either insurance or [ some other form of ] assistance,' Thompson stated.

About 150 clients ( a number that has increased in the past few months ) seek services through three case managers, Thompson added. Two of the managers are Ryan White case managers while the other is with the Department of Rehab Services. When asked if the increased case load is good or bad news, Thompson sees the glass as half-full and half-empty: 'It's good news to Erie and the community that we're able to meet the needs of the community. It's bad in the sense that HIV rates continue to climb in the West Town and Humboldt Park neighborhoods.'

The director does not view complacency as a local problem so much as a national one: 'I'm not sure I see complacency within the Latino community or with our clientele. As a nation, we've slipped into 'Even if I do become HIV-positive, I can just take a pill and be OK.' We're seeing a new generation of folks becoming infected because they didn't see the devastating effects on our communities back in the early '80s.'

For Pamela McGee, working at Lending Hands is 'a human-rights issue.' She added that 'when you look at the numbers and see this invisible population, [ I ] realize that we have not made enough noise that there is help available. People are concerned about terrorism, but look how many lives are affected here. We must fight the good fight—and Erie has been on the battlefield. We've also created a barrier-friendly environment for the patient; this is a one-stop service so all of [ a client's ] needs can be met.'

The diversity of the staff's positions reflect McGee's 'one-stop service' theory, with everyone from drug counselors to nutritionists on board. Margarita Nagy, a dietician, said: 'Some symptoms can be improved by learning how to eat or by taking vitamin supplements. I work with each patient to adjust the diet; usually, the change is gradual.'

The Lending Hands staff contends that the compassion for the clientele and their passion for helping combine to create an environment with comfort that is palpable. For instance, Thompson loves assisting the clients. 'One of the biggest benefits to working here is being able to help people get better and to get them to understand that health is not just the absence of disease but the promotion of wellness,' he said.

Lending Hands for Life is located at 2750 W. North; the number is ( 312 ) 432-7352.

This article shared 3660 times since Sat Oct 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

AIDS Garden Chicago supporters, CDPH official commemorate World AIDS Day with event
AIDS Garden Chicago supporters and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) commemorated the 34th annual World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 at the Belmont Yacht Club with a sneak preview of the garden. The 2.5-acre ...

Gay News

Director Paris Barclay talks about virtual reading of 'The Normal Heart'
The seminal Larry Kramer play The Normal Heart—which focuses on the rise of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York City in the early 1980s, through the perspective of the character Ned Weeks—is the subject of a ...

Gay News

State Rep. Greg Harris not seeking re-election
Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris—the first openly gay and HIV-positive state leader in the General Assembly—announced that he won't seek re-election and will leave the House when his term expires in early 2023, The Chicago Tribune ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: World AIDS Day, 'Benedetta,' books, wine in a can
—World AIDS Day event at Belmont Harbor: —The Chicago Parks Foundation will hold a World AIDS Day event on Dec. 1, 9-10:30 a.m., at the Belmont Harbor Yacht Club. Antonio King, LGBTQ health and outreach liaison ...

Gay News

Virtual reading, Q&A of 'The Normal Heart' with mostly LGBTQ+ and/or BIPOC cast on Dec. 4
ONE Archives Foundation, in collaboration with Invisible Histories Project, announced today that a brand-new Q&A will follow an encore and final presentation of the historic virtual reading of Larry Kramer's Tony-winning play The Normal Heart. The ...

Gay News

World AIDS Day events on tap
World AIDS Day takes place every year on Dec. 1. During this year—which marks the 40th anniversary since HIV was officially discovered—here are some of the events taking place (locally, regionally and nationally) on, before and ...

Gay News

AFC commemorates passing of the HIV decriminalization law with World AIDS Day event Dec. 1
--From a press release - The World AIDS Day Community Celebration of the Historic Passage of HB1063, which ended criminal penalties against people living with HIV, will be hosted by AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC). It will also commemorate World AIDS Day ...

Gay News

WORLD HIV case, Ireland items, Kim Petras, actress' illness
A woman in Argentina has become only the second documented person whose own immune system may have cured her of HIV, NBC News noted. Researchers have dubbed the 30-year-old mother, who was first diagnosed with HIV ...

Gay News

AIDS Foundation Chicago awards grants to Black- and Latinx-led organizations
AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) has awarded eight grants—totaling $72,000—to BIPOC-led organizations working to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in Black and Latinx neighborhoods across Chicago. The grants came from AFC's Learning ...

Gay News

National AIDS Memorial to hold World AIDS Day national events Nov. 30 and Dec. 1
--From a press release - SAN FRANCISCO (Nov. 9, 2021) — On December 1, the National AIDS Memorial brings three powerful programs to the public for World AIDS Day that offer inspiration, hope, remembrance, and reflection. The programming, free to the ...

Gay News

Secretary Becerra visits Humboldt Park, AIDS Foundation Chicago
On Nov. 8, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra traveled to sites in Chicago to highlight Biden-Harris administration's plans to build back better through investments in maternal health, the Affordable Ca ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+ Latinx healthcare providers discuss impact of COVID-19 pandemic
As part of its COVID-19 Grand Rounds series, AIDS Foundation Chicago hosted an Oct. 26 panel featuring LGBTQ+ Latinx healthcare providers sharing how the pandemic has impacted their personal and professional lives. Panelists included Howard Brown ...

Gay News

WORLD Indian commission, queer royals, MTV, Putin, attack in Jamaica
India's National Medical Commission has ordered publishers and medical schools to edit their textbooks and curricula to exclude discriminatory and unscientific portrayals of LGBTI people, according to Human Rights Watch. ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Foster-parent case, stars speak out, Texas youth, 'Queer Eye,' HIV
Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Lambda Legal, together with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along ...

Gay News

WORLD Plus magazine, The Guardian, Dutch princess, anti-trans ruling
The largest circulated HIV publication in the country, Plus, unveiled its 25 Amazing People of the Year, per a press release. Just a few of the individuals are actor Billy Porter; Mandisa Nikita Dukashe: South African ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.