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June 2024 – CCHCC Saves Lives, Stabilizes Health,and Increases Economic Security. Stories from the Front Lines – please support CCHCC!

En Español: Esta es una carta solicitando una donación para el trabajo que hace CCHCC. Si tiene preguntas sobre esta carta, o para mas información sobre donando a CCHCC, llame a (217) 352-6533 y pregunte por Chris o Adani.

“D” – a young adult male – was sent to live in CU with an older relative who promised to look after him. Instead, “D” was isolated, used, and abused, and left with no prospects for improving his life. “D” and his adult relative became homeless and were living out of a broken down car with the relative’s dog, who was also mistreated. CCHCC’s involvement turned everything around for “D” and for the dog.

Dear Friends,

We at Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) encounter many incredibly difficult situations when we work with individuals and families to help them get the health care and the resources that they need to improve their health and their lives. Our work – whether it is helping people get health insurance or prescriptions, or applying for public benefits such as Disability – can literally help save lives, stabilize people’s health, prevent homelessness, and increase economic security for our most vulnerable community members.

We met “D” and his older relative at the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. We learned that they, and the relative’s dog, were living out of a broken down car since the relative had lost his home. “D” was shy and withdrawn. The relative was medically fragile. We started working with them to try to find them housing and stability. In the course of working with this small family, we began to suspect that “D” was not being cared for, and we witnessed the dog losing weight. After building some trust with “D” – especially around his deep concern for the dog – we learned that “D” had no ID, no food stamps, no hope for employment or education because of lack of ID and transportation. We were able to extract “D” and the dog from the older family member. The dog had become severely underweight and we knew it would die if it stayed with this relative. One of our co-workers quickly found a loving home for the dog, and the dog is doing well and is quite happy. Our co-worker was also able to help “D” get a State ID, food stamps, a bus pass, and transitional housing. As soon as “D” got his ID, he went out and got a job. We helped him get a checking and savings account at a local bank and he started saving money from his job. “D” was able to get his own apartment and is now living independently and he is happy and secure. He refers to the CCHCC staff who helped him as his “Aunties”.

Clients come to CCHCC in need of a variety of services. In the course of working with clients to address their needs, we often encounter situations that require a deeper and more intense involvement than what appears at first glance. As a small mission-driven non-profit, we have the ability to get deeply involved and to find creative solutions to the messiness of life that can destabilize community members and threaten their health and economic well-being. Some situations seems hopeless. We do not turn away from difficult situations – instead, we dive in and do all we can. To illustrate our work, here are a few more stories from the front lines of our work.

“L” had a prescription that her insurance stopped covering for some reason. The cost – $19,000 for three months – was totally prohibitive. “L” was in a panic and needed help. She turned to CCHCC. The situation was a mess. A change in insurance plans confused the situation. In addition, the pharmacy denied coverage through its Specialty Pharmacy because they claimed she had “other coverage”. She obtained emergency coverage through the state, and then the prescription was mailed to the wrong person and she never got it. Our Senior Services Specialist dug into the situation, advocated for our client, resubmitted the request for the prescription, attended multiple appointments, and spent a great amount of time on the phone. Ultimately, “S” got her medication, had the $19,000 charge removed, and has insurance that is now properly covering her prescription. The hours of help that our co-worker put in for “S” were immensely worthwhile.

“P” is an older woman who became homeless after she could no longer work, following a stroke. She had no income, and no prospects. A family member helped her stay in a motel on occasion. “P” was despondent. We are applying her for disability benefits, but we also knew we had to help with her immediate situation. We helped her apply for, and receive Township assistance. Then, with that little bit of income, we helped her qualify for subsidized housing. She is now housed, has a little income, and her life is stabilizing.

“S” struggles with severe mental illness and was at risk of losing his housing when his probation officer reached out to us for help. We started working with “S” to apply him for public benefits to help stabilize his situation and prevent him from becoming homeless. But his untreated mental health condition made this incredibly difficult, and also put him at risk to become violent. Very patiently and carefully, a member of our Disability Applications team worked with him and, over time, established a trusting relationship. As a result, “S” started receiving health care which included monthly injections to help with his mental illness. He became a new person as a result of his treatment – capable of actively engaging in conversations, smiling, joking, and working to improve and stabilize his life. CCHCC helped him get approved for various resources and financial assistance as we continue to work with him to apply him for disability benefits.

These are just a few stories from the front lines of our work at CCHCC. People often need help with incredibly difficult and desperate situations. CCHCC does not turn away from these difficult situations, or limit our involvement to a very narrow area of service because we understand that if people’s health and their lives are destabilized, they might not survive.

Please consider making a contribution to help support CCHCC’s ongoing work in our community. The work we do can help stabilize community members’ health, and their financial lives. Please consider making a financial contribution to support CCHCC’s work.



Claudia Lennhoff
Executive Director