Twenty years ago, Phil was 35 years old and a very successful political director of the largest labor union in Illinois when he suddenly became ill with Bipolar Depression.

“Nothing ever prepares you for mental illness or a mental breakdown. It hits you so suddenly and your whole world falls apart. I was paralyzed by my mental illness.”

Phil didn’t receive the right medication and he turned to alcohol to try to ease his mind. He lost the job he loved and could no longer afford his home.

For 2.5 years he was alcoholic and homeless.

“Five years ago I would not have had the confidence to look you in the eye. I was so ashamed of being homeless and living in my car. I felt worthless.”

After living in a Housing Initiatives home for 4 years, Phil is successfully managing his mental illness. He’s now a functioning Franciscan Catholic priest and will be soon be ordained a bishop. Phil gives back and helps other homeless people by routinely visiting the shelters and offering communion.

“Housing Initiatives reached out to me in my darkest moment and treated me like a human being that mattered. They literally saved my life. Having a home gives you the dignity and self-respect you need to fight substance abuse and get back on your feet. I consider Housing Initiatives staff my extended family.”