Isaiah N.

June 29, 2017
Julia Weegar

A Portrait of Homelessness in Chicago | Franciscan Outreach

Isiah has been homeless since 2009.

“My goals are to get financially stable, get my own place and go to college.” – Isiah N.

Isiah was raised on the South Side of Chicago. As a young boy, Isiah was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. When he was five years old, he was placed into foster care. His foster family adopted him when he was seven or eight years old.

His adoptive mother was a tutor. She tutored Isiah in reading and math.

At 17, Isiah started hanging around with the wrong crowd and dropped out of high school. He began drinking alcohol and smoking pot.

“I would come in late and not do what my mom said. She was upset with the choices I was making,” Isiah says.

With continued disputes, Isiah left home and stayed with friends. With no job and no permanent place to live, Isiah became homeless.

He found Franciscan Outreach, which provided Isiah with his basic needs including food, shelter and clothing. He also received access to the resources he needed to make positive changes in his life.

“My case manager has helped me to get my ID, Medicaid, Social Security Disability benefits, and has placed me on the housing waiting list,” says Isiah. “They push me to see a life outside of the shelter – something better.”

Isiah attends the support group meetings, including the Motivational groups, Life Skills training, and Financial Literacy.

“I’m now working on getting my GED. It’s a six-week program,” he says.

Isiah says that he hopes to one day reunite with his adoptive mom.

“I have a lot of good memories of my mom. She was strict but nice. She always encouraged me,” Isiah says. “At the time, I wouldn’t listen because I was young.” “Now, I remember and appreciate all the things she tried to tell me.”

In 2015, Isiah’s biological family found him through Facebook. They got together on Thanksgiving of that year and they stay in touch.


Isaiah is is a part of the Franciscan Outreach Mobile Gallery – A Portrait of Homelessness in Chicago