Emerald House was developed as a hospice facility during the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Currently, the facility provides affordable and permanent housing for men living with HIV/AIDS who are chronically ill and in need of continuous medical care. It is situated in a converted and former sixteen-room convent.
Emerald House is located on the far south side of Chicago in the West Pullman area. Although it was developed as a housing resource for the South-side of Chicago, it accepts referrals citywide and from the south-suburban areas. Emerald House is in its twenty-six (26th) year of operation. Through the personal improvements made by many of Emerald House's residents, the theory that housing is health has been proven over and over again.
Concerned about the large number of people from our communities who were dying of AIDS-related complications, CSLS's CEO designed a national program, The ONE VOICE Gospel Artists Respond to AIDS, to educate others about HIV/AIDS. The program garnered attention and support from the United States Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, in Washington, D.C. This resulted in six(6) months of planning at our nation's capital until it was finally implemented in 2000-01 with events being held successfully in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
As a response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, CSLS developed twelve (12) programs which included employment services and a full continuum of housing options (i.e emergency, transitional, and permanent) in eight (8) south side and south suburban communities within Chicago. Emerald House was developed as a hospice facility enabling many of those impacted with HIV/AIDS and dying on the streets a place they could call home and where they could transition with dignity. It also provided others a place to recover and transition to a life of self-sufficient living within the community.
For nearly four (4) decades, through its participation on various national panels, and through several CSLS's organized HIV/AIDS prevention workshops, CSLS continues to be heralded both locally and nationally for its holistic and innovative approach in the delivery of comprehensive services and supportive housing to various homeless populations.
Through the restructuring of most of its programming, CSLS has replicated itself by giving most of their funded housing programs to other agencies within the community. Through this effort, it increased the number of HIV/AIDS housing providers on Chicago's south side thus impacting the overall number of homeless individuals living with HIV/AIDS. CSLS has also mentored and shared in the start-up experience of several newly formed agencies desiring to provide supportive housing.
After restructuring, CSLS began to primarily focus on the Emerald House and becoming a developer of multi-family housing. CSLS has recently procured vacant land in the south suburban area to develop a "tiny house village" for Veterans in need of affordable housing with the primary focus on permanent sustainable living. CSLS shall continue to be a positive force in response to our community's homelessness and affordable housing needs.
As a side note, in response to the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota Police Officer, and the "Black Lives Protest", by request, CSLS's CEO, Herschel Gamble, participated in the development of the Justice in Policing Act which was presented to the Congressional Black Caucus for review and approval and then finally forwarded to the Unites States Congress to become law.
"HOUSING IS HEALTH.....HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT!!"