Photo of Doris
Doris has been advocating for CILA to be fully funded and paid for by the State of Illinois. Read her statement here.

“My Goal is to Become This Woman That’s Inside of Me”

Doris Neylon was released from prison in summer 2015 with nowhere to go – and no way to get the medication she needed to treat her schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

For 120 days she lived on Chicago’s streets, washing up in a McDonald’s bathroom. But now when she goes to McDonald’s, she goes there to work.

“I’m warm, safe, secure, I’ve got my meds and people to talk to,” Doris said. “I’m excited to be at CILA. Someone cares about me.”

In November 2015 Doris moved into a South Chicago apartment operated by Metropolitan Family Services’ CILA program. CILA offers a supported, shared-apartment living environment for adults with mental illness, with staff on site 24 hours a day. Staff provide case management, medication monitoring, transportation to medical appointments and training to learn daily living skills.

“We provide a sense of belonging, and give those reality checks when needed,” said case manager Angela Russell. “We encourage people to want to do better in their recovery journey.”

“Many CILA clients were homeless, incarcerated, or in nursing homes before moving in, and most need CILA for only a couple years before living independently,” said CILA Program Manager Anita Lewis.

To Doris, CILA means safety and security, and has allowed her to travel far on her journey to independence and recovery. She is working hard to establish a regular cycle of receiving care, both mental and physical (she is recovering from a pulmonary embolism), and rebuilding other parts of her life as well.

“Since being at CILA, Doris learned about personal responsibility and has also been able to work on repairing and establishing supportive relationships with her mom, sister, children, and grandchildren, which were all negatively impacted by her history,” said CILA case manager Angela Russell.

“We are so very proud of the progress Doris has made in the short time since she has been with us, and she is becoming that woman she wants to be.”