The American Dream


Vietnamese immigrant Hung T.’s engagement with Outreach at St. Vincent de Paul Center started in July 2009. He was homeless, and would often come to take a shower and receive a change of clothes. Hung longed to get a job and his own place but didn’t think it was possible, especially since his identification papers were stolen when he became homeless in 2002.

As he came for weekly showers, Hung slowly built a trusting relationship with Outreach Program staff. In January 2012, Hung shared with staff that he wanted a job. He did not think that he could become employed because he did not have his immigration permanent residency card or work authorization card. Outreach Case Manager Ronald Hargrave helped Hung research what documentation he would need to apply to replace the immigration papers he needed. Six months after applying for replacement papers, Hung learned of a legal immigration matter that prevented him from receiving any identification papers. Frustrated with the whole process, Hung did not want to appeal his case and did not care if he was deported. 

While attending the 2012 Outreach Luncheon and Resource Fair, Hung met with one of the volunteer lawyers to discuss his options. He was referred to the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago for legal advice on how to appeal the matter preventing reinstatement of his immigration status. With the support of Outreach staff, Hung successfully appealed his case. Throughout his wait to obtain legal identification, Hung worked with Outreach staff to develop his resume and apply for public benefits. He also began volunteering for the Outreach Program, assisting with delivery unloading and inventory stocking for the food pantry. 

In the fall of 2013, Hung was eligible to apply for a work authorization card. The card arrived in December 2013, and Hung then obtained an Illinois State identification card. Now that he is eligible to apply for work and housing, Hung meets weekly with the Outreach staff to achieve his employment and housing goals.
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  • Foglia Family & Youth Center
    2859 W. Jackson Blvd. Chicago, IL 60612
  • Marillac Social Center
    212 S. Francisco Ave. Chicago, IL 60612
  • St. Vincent de Paul Center
    2145 N. Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60614