Living healthy shouldn't be this hard


Darrin Chambers is preparing to celebrate eight years with his fiancé Audre* this November. "We got it all here," he laughs. "I got boys, she got girls. We've made ourselves a 'Brady Bunch' situation."

Darrin has brought himself a long way from the years he spent on the street, navigating piecemeal treatment for HIV and schizophrenia, to his sunny apartment in South Baltimore. "I learned to be a survivor out there," he says, "living in those abandoned houses, that's where I stored all my important documents and HIV medication."

"I turned to using [drugs] as a way to self-medicate," says Darrin, reflecting on the state of his care at that time. 

What began as a means of mental health maintenance quickly developed into dependency. "My motivation being out there was just to make it through the day intact," he says, "but I lost myself in addiction."

Darrin's journey changed when he met Audre, just months into her own recovery. "I made those first steps on my own," he says, "because I loved her so much. It created something in me and I wasn't going to let that go." Over the next several years Darrin worked at his recovery with support from Helping Up Mission, who recommended Health Care for the Homeless to him. 

Darrin quickly bonded with his new primary care provider, Dr. Iris Leviner, who outlined a tailored course of HIV treatment. "She really sat me down and explained the function of white blood cells and 'viral load,' and what it means for my body," he remembers. Based on Darrin's requests, Dr. Leviner identified a therapist and psychiatrist at the agency to help him manage his schizophrenia and substance use disorders. 

"Once I was prescribed the appropriate medications to manage my mental health and HIV, the quality of my life improved dramatically." Today, Darrin's HIV viral load is undetectable and he cannot transmit transmit the virus to others. With proper medication and a stregthened immune system, Darrin began to feel an easing in schizophrenic episodes. He was also able to build up a greater committment to his sobriety. 

From the comfort of home, Darrin has space now to care for himself and the people in his life. 

"I've equipped myself mentally, physically and spiritually to deal with life," he says proudly. "Now I'm a provider for my family and I love that."

*this is a pseudonym 

No one should have to manage their health alone. Click here to learn more about our whole-person approach to care.

More Recent News


"When trans people leave their house, it's an act of revolution."

Ja'Nae Tyler, Director of Operations, Baltimore Safe Haven


When I first came to Health Care for the Homeless three years ago with my sister I had high blood pressure, prostate problems and no form of treatment or medication. Now, as a member of the Board of Directors, I motivate clients to keep on top of their health and stay connected with providers. I feel the good it did for me, and I want that for others, too. 


On a crisp November morning in Patterson Park, 250 runners, walkers, supporters and volunteers came out for the 8th annual Rock Your Socks 5K. And it felt gooood to be back together in person!


When I accepted the position of President & CEO ten years ago, I was not expecting to build affordable housing. But the truth is clear: People need housing to be healthy and that housing simply doesn’t exist in our community.


View All News