EdgeAliance still looking to help its community

June 21, 2012 (CHICAGO)

EdgeAlliance has provided housing for more than 1,500 homeless, low-income children, families and adults living with HIV/AIDS.

The organization's North Lawndale location is the group's residential campus. Currently, they are expanding to provide the same opportunity to our group of homeless veterans.

"When we expanded to this neighborhood of North Lawndale there was no dedicated housing for families or individuals living with HIV or AIDS in the city of Chicago and North Lawndale then," Vice President of Advancement for EdgeAlliance Allen Hailey said. "...and now has a really high incidence of HIV and AIDS so we knew this was a community that needed the type of services and housing that we were providing."

The campus has three residential buildings: Sawyer Gardens, Garden View and Phoenix House.

"We have kids that have grown up on our campus, two that we're really proud of," Hailey said. "One a young women who has gone on to college and another young man who is now serving our country in Afghanistan. So kids who come here, if they get stable, their parents are able to care for them and focus on the future and they go on to do amazing things."

Brent, 22, a resident of EdgeAlliance's North Lawndale campus, has been living there since February 2011. Brent is HIV positive.

"I've been living with it since I was a baby and I'm still healthy and everything, do what I'm supposed (to)," Brent said. "I have problems here and there but mostly I'll be on top of my stuff and you really can't tell that I got it or nothing."

"I just recently got out of high school about three years ago."

Prior to coming to EdgeAlliance, Brent lived in shelters and on trains.

"I was one day in a shelter. I said I need to get out of here, I need to go back out and do what I was supposed to."

A caseworker put him in touch with the organization.

"And that was a good blessing too," Brent said. "I got the apartment and I was very happy and that's when I started doing things cause I came in here with nothing and I started building my way up again getting back on my feet, slowly and slowly."

"My long term goal is hope to get in school again. I want to be a film director, like write my own movie," he said.

EdgeAlliance will soon be working with veterans. Hailey said that later this fall, he hopes to get this project underway.

"Our founder Jim Flosi was a chaplain in the Navy," Haley said. "So Jim, as well as other members of our board who have served in the military, have always wanted us to provide housing for veterans. Later this fall we're opening Alpha house which will provide housing to veterans who are homeless."

If you want learn more about EdgeAlliance, or about how you can get involved, you can visit their website here.

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