Nimra came to the United States from Saudi Arabia in 2008 with her cousin in search of more economic opportunity. For the next three years, they lived in an area right outside of Chicago, where she worked as a housekeeper. In 2010, her cousin received a sudden cancer diagnosis and passed away shortly after.
For the next year, Nimra continued to work, but struggled to pay her bills on time, since she and her cousin relied heavily on their combined income to make ends meet. At the same time, Nimra struggled to maintain good health because of a rare autoimmune disease that made her more susceptible to infections. After missing several days of work due to a bad case of pneumonia, she lost her job, even though she had submitted the appropriate paperwork on her condition to her employer.
After searching for work for nearly a year without success, Nimra was at the end of her rope and about to be evicted from her apartment when she learned of Health Leads through her doctor at Chicago Family Health Center. Without hesitation, Nimra visited the Health Leads Desk right after her appointment and in her first visit, an Advocate was able to connect her to a food pantry and refer her to several employment centers.
Because of her fierce determination, in just a few weeks, Nimra found a job as a housekeeper at a hotel that included healthcare benefits and paid twice as much as her previous position. This was life-changing for her. With a regular income, Nimra was able buy healthy food every month, save enough money for her landlord to remove her eviction notice, and begin paying her rent on a regular basis again.
For Nimra, solving this one need changed everything. With a job, Nimra could stay in her apartment, buy nutritious food, and now had health insurance to better manage her autoimmune disease. She was motivated and ready, she just needed someone to help her get started. This year, Health Leads will work with nearly 15,000 patients just like Nimra. And by taking into consideration the full set of factors that affect their health, these patients will be able to live healthier, more productive lives.