Founded in 1985 during the height of the AIDS crisis, Chicago House initially served as a housing resource, and in most cases a hospice, for those living with HIV/AIDS. Today, the organization empowers people living with or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS through four mission-critical pillars, with the central purpose to lead healthy, dignified lives.
In the 1980s, Chicago, like so many places around the world, suffered countless losses of friends and family being taken by the AIDS epidemic. Forty years ago, getting diagnosed with HIV meant facing a dearth of support services on top of immense societal stigma. Then, when the news was bleak and options limited, beacons of light - like Chicago House - emerged as resources. At first, Chicago House was a home for those ultimately losing their battle with HIV/AIDS; however, over time, with medical and clinical advancements, the outcomes of receiving a positive HIV diagnosis started to shift and what had historically been a life-ending virus became a different way of life. Semantics shifted from dying of HIV to living with HIV.
Today, the dialogue has evolved once again, this time with hope of no new HIV transmissions, lowering the viral load of individuals living with HIV to an undetectable amount and eradicating the disease once and for all. As the disease storyline shifted, so did Chicago House’s services. No longer just a place for individuals to die, but rather a place to help those living with HIV to lead healthy and dignified lives, Chicago House evolved - remaining steadfast in our roots to provide housing for anyone impacted or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS while expanding our services to empower individuals in the greater LGBTQ community.
Building on our 34-year history, we continue to support advancements in medicine, meet the ever-changing needs of the people we serve and establish ourselves as the leader in housing for the greater LGBTQ+ community. By meeting people where they’re at, Chicago House has been growing alongside individuals and historical advancements alike. Pivotal moments, major milestones and unfathomable achievements have anchored our path forward, and the future is filled with hope.