February 7, 2018

On Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Frankie’s story is one of hope and transformation

With almost half of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. in 2016 within the black community, the need for comprehensive awareness about HIV/AIDS is imperative – and life saving. Today, on Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we honor those of our community who fought and lost their lives, celebrate the valiant survivors, and encourage those in our black community to, “Stay the course, the fight is not over!”

Before coming to Catholic Charities Leland House, Frankie was living in various hotels that were unsafe and unclean or on the streets. He stood in line to get food from a local dining room once a day, but otherwise his options were limited.

After learning that he was HIV+, Frankie knew he had to take care of himself. His friends at Most Holy Redeemer Church connected him with care that would eventually lead him to a safe and stable life.

Frankie arrived at Leland House two years ago. A friendly upbeat man, he seems to have a penchant for making everyone he meets smile.

Through every set back that Frankie has experienced, he has continued to persevere. Whether medical, social, or educational, Frankie continues to do the footwork necessary to reap the rewards that community services offer. He has followed up on many opportunities, including treatment, work training and rehabilitation, and housing. Everything Frankie sets out to do, he tries his best; and he always leads with kindness and gratitude.

Frankie’s excitement and engagement in life are infectious. He began a four month training program to become a janitorial specialist last year. Since then Frankie graduated and has been sent on various janitorial assignments around the city. With his dedication there is even the possibility of getting a more permanent position going forward.

One of Frankie’s goals is to finish his GED. He and his case manager at Leland House are working on getting him into a program that will allow him to accomplish his goal.

If you visit Leland House, be sure to find Frankie, he’ll be happy to give you a tour, tell you where he’s been that day, and the current news at the house!

Leland House
Catholic Charities Leland House opened in 1997 and marked the first time in the continuum of care system that hospitals could discharge those living with HIV/AIDS in frail and ailing health. As a comprehensive care residence for 45 previously homeless adults, Leland House provides permanent placement and on-site care to low-income San Francisco residents who have disabling HIV/AIDS – most of whom struggle with major co-occurring psychiatric disorders and substance use challenges.

In addition to offering housing and meals, Leland House serves as a major component in the
HIV continuum of care via medicine management, harm reduction education, counseling, and
case management.