Ismael Camacho

Ismael says that he is grateful to CATCH for helping him every step of the way. “Where I was to where I am… CATCH saved my life.”

Ismael Camacho had a successful antique business that was taken from him because of avarice and treachery. Depressed and defeated, Ismael turned to a life on the streets.

He walked away from everything he had worked so hard to achieve and was fighting to keep. With his remaining finances; Ismael purchased a van for shelter and contemplated suicide on a daily basis.

Ismael recalls frequently seeing CATCH signs during his time living on the streets. Never thinking this could be a harbinger of things to come, Ismael continued on in his lowly state. Ismael awoke one day with a moment of clarity and sought the services of CATCH for the help he needed. Ismael says that he “just wanted someone to talk to.” He began attending regular therapy sessions at the Adult Outpatient Program. During one of his visits, Ismael revealed to his therapist that he was not feeling well. It was then that his therapist learned of Ismael’s living conditions and referred him to the Adult Case management Program. Ismael credits this session as “The day that changed my life.”

Ismael’s Case Managers worked diligently to secure housing at a local Community Residential Rehabilitation Unit. Though he was skeptical, Ismael agreed to live in the CRR. Ismael’s high level of acuity led to an offer of residence through the Philadelphia Housing Authority. His case manager helped with completing the application and aided Ismael in settling on a location. “The first few places were not good.” he says. Ismael eventually moved into what he now refers to as a “beautiful and peaceful home.”

During this time of transition, Ismael’s case manager worked with him to acquire Social Security Disability, a service he had not been aware might be available to him. She was also able to reconnect Ismael with his family. Of this reunion, he said, “It is the greatest feeling! I thought that I would never see them again.” Ismael says that he now keeps in touch with his family on a regular basis.

Today, Ismael spends his time giving back to his community. He has partnered with various churches and donation centers. Ishmael takes food donations given to these institutions and cooks meals in his own home. He then delivers the meals to the homeless friends he made while living on the street. His friends and family say that Ismael is an excellent chef.

Ismael says that he is grateful to CATCH for helping him every step of the way. “Where I was to where I am… CATCH saved my life.”