Victor Loo is the director of Recovery Services of Asian Counseling and Referral Service, where he has managed the Mental Illness and Chemical Abuse program for about 5 years. He offers lunch and chemical dependency counseling to clients twice a week. His regulars are mostly Asian, especially Vietnamese and Cambodian, but people of any ethnicity can receive ACRS's services. There's a benefit, says Loo, to clients when they seek out a place with a culture they recognize. His clientele mostly "feel safe when they come here, because everyone they see is Asian," he says.
Loo, growing up in Singapore, has been through the experiences faced by many immigrants and refugees when his family went bankrupt and had to move into a low-income area. "Because of those experiences I had, and witnessing how our community works together, I believe that we can make things work and see our clients recover," he says.
One client, coping with mental illness and an addiction to cocaine, is now an apartment owner attending regular vocational training. "It's a long process, but so far, it's successful," says Loo, "and many clients complete the treatment."