Who We Are
DeLaCerda House was established in 1994 to honor the memory of James (Jim) DeLaCerda, a healthcare professional who was diagnosed with AIDS, treated patients with AIDS, and advocated for the elimination of the harmful stigmas that too often accompany the disease.
In 1996, through the strong advocacy work of Robb Dussliere, DeLaCerda House opened Robb’s House; the first of three properties owned by DeLaCerda House in Rock Island.
The mission of DeLaCerda House is to provide housing, advocacy services, and progressive case management for persons with HIV/AIDS who are experiencing homelessness.
Our program has been providing safe, affordable housing and supportive services to individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness and living with HIV/AIDS for over 25 years.
What We Do
We provide more than a house, we provide a home and essential supportive services. Our goal is to ensure that the basic needs of our program participants are met so that they can focus on getting well and getting healthy. We provide food, hygiene and household essentials, transportation to and from medical appointments, and furniture. New box springs, mattresses, and bedding are always at the top of our wish list.
We also provide supportive services. We have a dedicated Service Coordinator who meets with each program participant weekly. This is a critical service, one that ensures our participants are given their best chance at achieving their wellness goals and are able to successfully reenter society.
People often ask us what supportive services are and what they look like. For DeLaCerda House, supportive services look like maintaining an open and honest connection with each one of our program participants through conversations and interactions. It means helping our participants navigate their individual challenges, whether that’s helping them locate and connect with another community resource, working with them to set career goals and helping them navigate application processes, or spending time with them showing them how to do a load of laundry.
James (Jim) DeLaCerda was born in Muscatine, IA and graduated from the University of Illinois, with a bachelor’s and master’s in Nursing. He was a Navy veteran from the Vietnam era and a trauma specialist, certified in medical and surgical nursing.
A Nurse Practitioner at Cook County Hospital from 1984 to 1990, Jim worked with AIDS patients and was the first Coordinator of the AIDS unit when it opened in 1989. In 1990, he became the Nurse Manager of the AIDS unit of Davies Medical Center in San Francisco.
Diagnosed with AIDS himself, Jim moved to Rock Island in early 1993 to be close to his family and friends. Jim passed away in May of 1993 at the age of 46. His colleagues remembered him “as a real fighter, especially for other people’s rights. He wanted society to see AIDS and the people with it in a more logical and rational way. And he really pushed the bureaucracy. He did not go along with the flow but sought to change it.” Jim DeLaCerda’s legacy as an AIDS treatment advocate lives on through the work of DeLaCerda House.
Robert (Robb) A. Dussliere was born Dec. 31st, 1961, in Morrison, the son of Lawrence and Hattie Larkin Dussliere. He grew up in East Moline and graduated from United Township High School in 1980. Robb’s sisters claim he was the type of mischievous kid who would spark some trouble and then back away and watch the action. Robb reacted to this by smiling and insisting he was “the perfect child.”
He was a successful salesman for Barjan Products and Village Inn Headquarters in Denver. He enjoyed restoring Victorian homes and renovating them to their original condition.
Robb lived with HIV for years, and as his condition worsened, he moved back to the Quad Cities in November, 1994 to be closer to his family. He served on the board of the AIDS Project Quad Cities and spoke as a volunteer educator, teaching local awareness of HIV and AIDS. In 1995, he and Beth Wehrmann (of the AIDS Project Quad Cities) approached WHBF-TV about doing a series on Robb’s life with HIV and AIDS.
The inspirational stories were called “Robb’s Live” and appeared on WHBF each Thursday evening for one year, beginning in April 1995 until Robb’s death in April, 1996. His willingness to put himself in the public eye resulted in a change of attitudes and perceptions surrounding this illness. When he passed away, a line of people extended down the street, made up of viewers who only knew Robb from the TV news series
In his final years, Robb served on the DeLaCerda House Board and was the driving force in getting DeLaCerda House open. The organization named their first property, which provided safe housing to individuals diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, “Robb’s House” in honor of Robb when it opened, just a few short weeks after his passing.
We believe that housing is healthcare. We provide safe and stable housing to individuals and families who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and are experiencing homelessness.
In 1996, DeLaCerda House opened the first property to provide housing and a safe haven to those individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Robert Dussliere, a Quad Cities native, was a driving force to make this dream a reality. Robert understood that housing stability would be the key to individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS to living healthier and longer. Robert literally hung drywall and cabinets, light sconces and doors, even as his own health was failing. Robert Dussliere died April 19, 1996. DeLaCerda House honored his legacy by naming this first property, “Robb’s House.” Robb’s House provides a community living environment for five individuals that are living with HIV/AIDS.
In 2002, DeLaCerda House acquired two more properties and named them “Steven’s Place” in honor of Steven Rosen, who dies in 1993 of AIDS. Steven’s father, Morton Rosen, was a long-time board member and volunteer for DeLaCerda House and understood the importance of providing housing to individuals who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. In 2003, these properties were beautifully remodeled into 8 one-bedroom apartments. Today, Steven’s Place is a permanent supportive housing program for individuals that are experiencing homelessness and living with HIV/AIDS.
In 2009, Longview Place as opened to address the needs of families with dependent children that are living with HIV/AIDS. This large historic home was completely remodeled to provide two separate duplexes to assist these families with receiving supportive services while living independently.
Current Board Members
President: Jake Neilson
Professional Bio: Associate Consultant GovContractPros
Vice President: Pete Lux
Professional Bio: Vice President, Donor Services Impact Life
Secretary: Judi Creighton
Professional Bio: Senior Operational Trainer United Healthcare
Treasurer: Travis Swanson
Professional Bio: Operational Support Specialist, Deere Employees Credit Union
Professional Bio: (Retired) Administrative Judge, IL Dept. of Children and Family Services
Professional Bio: (Retired) Department of Veteran Affairs
Executive Director: Cathy Jordan
Service Coordinator: Damiean Watford