DeLaCerda House opened the doors to our first property in 1996. Our plan was simple: to provide housing and safe haven to those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. We believed then – as we do today and as an incredible wealth of evidence-based research now confirms – that housing is intricately linked to health outcomes when it comes to this disease.

In those early days, our first property, Robb’s House, was something of a hospice for clients dying of AIDS, oftentimes rejected by family, friends and society.  The house was the culmination of the final year of life of Robb Dussliere, a local man dying of AIDS. He realized then that an HIV/AIDS diagnosis was often directly linked to housing instability and that keeping people stably housed would be the key to keeping them healthier longer. He literally hung drywall and cabinets, light sconces and doors, even as his body weakened and his health failed. That’s how much that first home – now known as “Robb’s House” – meant to Dussliere, and we keep that dedication alive in all the work we do today.

Today, Robb’s House group home is designated as “transitional housing,” meaning that our goal is to help clients improve their situation, transition to a better life and address the barriers that contributed to their homelessness in the first place. Many times that means addressing issues of substance abuse, mental illness, medical crisis, trauma history and poverty. But we tell every new client one thing: “When we started clients came to us to die. Today, you come to live.”

In 2003, DeLaCerda House acquired Steven’s Place, two ramshackle apartment buildings with a combined 8 one-bedroom apartments. Now beautifully remodeled and maintained, these apartments serve as permanent supportive housing for clients with HIV, AIDS and special medical needs, many of whom were first housed at Robb’s House and are now successful enough to live independently.

Finally, just a couple years ago, DeLaCerda House morphed our services yet again to address the reality of today’s HIV. The advent of successful HIV medications means that people can and do live long, healthy, full and vibrant lives. So we added two family units, available to families where one or both parents are living with HIV/AIDS.