The money donated, please use towards Joseph Kamen burial.
God rest his soul.
The money donated, please use towards Joseph Kamen burial.
God rest his soul.
“I was living with my 94 year old mother; I was her live-in caregiver. She had a stroke and her sister decided that she should go into assisted living. My aunt gave me only three days to leave my apartment. At first I stayed with a friend. Then I called Hands to Help and talked to Lindsey. When she learned I was a vetern she suggested Hope Manor, a brand new veteran’s apartment building. We got an application and she helped me fill it out. After five weeks they called me and offered me a room. Then I applied to work at the Jesse White Veteran’s Hospital. Lindsey helped me answer the questions and update my resume. I got the job! One door closed and two doors opened. Hands to Help paid $20 for me to get my birth certificate and paid a portion of my first month’s rent. Lindsey was extremely helpful. She would listen to me, pause, and then say, ‘I have an idea.’ From that moment everything got better. She’s an angel.” Donald C.
James and his wife have 3 children (4 months, 3 years, 6 years) and are behind in rent by $2940 and have received one month of rental assistance through Hands to Help Ministry. James began a job earning about $1818 per month in mid August. The family is requesting additional rental assistance to assist with backrent and debt owed.
James and has family are requesting additional rental assistance to aide in paying off the debt owed to the management company). James has gone to Salvation Army to get assistance with one month and he will also reach out to the City of Chicago (through the Trina Davila Center). James plans to pay his rent in full in October. Hands to help was able to pay for a new battery for the family van.
The Connelly family consists of a father, mother and seven-year old daughter and the only income consists of SSI (698/mo). The SSI was cut off in 6/12 due to supposed assets over $3k. The family is behind in rent (no payments since 6/12, although landlord not currently threatening eviction). The family is working with Outreach Worker and SSA Liaison at Quigley’s office to remedy SSI situation because their assets are not over $3k. Within 7-10 days of 9/14, monthly payments of $628 will be reinstated, however back pay will not reinstate until hearing (6-12 months now–Quigley’s Liaison will try to speed up). Family is in need of rental assistance and other household goods/kid needs from a general store (like Target).
The ministry has so far assisted with school supplies for Shahd and provided a $75 Target card.
Dan has been working with Outreach staff since May and has now living at the North side shelter. He is participating in a job training program through EZRA and will soon begin a short training to obtain a PERC card. He will soon look for part-time work, although he also has applied for social security disability benefits (MH) and is working with Binder and Binder law firm. He is applying for appropriate housing through North side shelter. Since working with the outreach staff, he has been to Reed Hospital once (MH) and had a few inpatient stays for medical issues, such as a removed appendix and other stomach issues. Dan is requesting a 30 day CTA pass so he can travel to and from medical appointments and to begin his job search when his training wraps up very soon.
Steven is homeless and accessing the services of West Suburban PADS shelter (supportive, MH, etc). Steven lived in Chicago for most of his life, although spent time in the south recently doing construction. He fell off a scaffold and spent one year recovering with family in southern, IL. He went back south for a while and accessed homeless services there before returning to Chicago to access more comprehensive services. He is in touch with his family, has an okay relationship with them (see phone support), although he cannot live with them due to their age and limited income and a sometimes contentious relationship with his father. He is in need of a bus pass to support his movement while accessing services and to keep him off his feet somewhat so his back issues are not exacerbated.
Steven is requesting a 30 day CTA pass for the next 3 months which will enable him to continue accessing shelter, mental health and supportive services from West Suburban PADS. H to H provided a 30 day pass on 8/29 when Steven went into the Northside Shelter, although he has since left and moved to the PADS shelter. Steven’s short and long term goals consist of accessing mental health treatment through THRIVE (via PADS), making pocket change to get by (selling Sun Times papers, for example), accessing dental care (HHO dental clinic), accessing regular medical care at St. Joseph’s Hospital (primarly back issues), and attending his Social Security Disability hearing that will take place in December. He has a lawyer and has already has two denials. He is applying for a physical and mental disability (severe spinal disorder, bilateral wrist fracture and bipolar disorder). He plans to obtain an SRO living arrangement once is case is decided in December or January.
Bench Bob died last week. That was not his real name, of course, but having lived most of the last ten years on a bench at the corner of Irving and Keeler, that is what most people called him. He would have been 55 in July, only a few years older than me.
Bob was an intelligent, funny and unassuming man who had a problem with alcohol. He rarely talked about himself and so I am not sure what wounds held him hostage to the cycle of drinking and homelessness. I know he lost his father when he was a young teenager and he lost his mother before he was ready to give her up. I know he had a sister with whom he had not spoken in years. He had been to detox and rehab so many times I lost count. He tried so hard but always ended up back at the corner. Whatever the wounds were, they were deep and they were strong. He never complained or seemed bitter about his life, though. In fact, most of the homeless people I have dealt with seem thankful for what little they have and don’t complain much. I wish I could be more like that…..be more content and grateful for all that I have.
The people of the Irving Park Community tried to be helpful. There were some who paid for a room at the Irving Hotel in the coldest weather. There were some who took him in or bought him meals or encouraged him to try detox one more time. There were some people who were just kind to him.
Homelessness and addiction is a serious problem that is on the rise on the northwest side and the solutions are complex and elusive. Often, finding the resources or services needed to help someone is like going through a complicated maze with endless dead ends. Something needs to be done about that.
The week Bob died, someone had paid for his room at the hotel. No one was with him when he passed away but Bench Bob didn’t die on the street and he didn’t die alone.
Joe who is in his 40’s grew up in the Old Irving Park neighborhood and kept contact with his sister who lives in the suburbs. He had been living on the streets for a few years with his girlfriend. They would stay with friends on and off but that did not last. Usually he slept under the expressway, in doorways or in various other places on the streets with other people without homes.
Although Joe is only in his 40’s, he has had 3 heart attacks and suffers from insulin dependent diabetes. His girlfriend has minimal income and has some mental health issues. Joe has no income at all and is unable to work due to his heart problems. He has been denied disability 3 times although his does have medicaid healthcare coverage. Suffering from depression due to his situation and chronic health problems, he attempted suicide and was comatose for a few days.
Amazingly, he survived and realized that he would not be able to survive on the streets much longer.
Through encouragement from Hands to Help, Joe was able to be referred for mental healthcare counseling. In addition, our organization paid for temporary housing in a hotel until Joe and his girlfriend could find a permanent apartment that they could afford with his girlfriend’s minimal income and some assistance from his sister. We were able to provide a security deposit in order for them to secure a permanent residence. His healthcare problems seem to be better under control now that he has a place to live.
“I honestly don’t know what I would have done without Hands To Help Ministries.
HTH put my stomach at ease and helped me to get afloat so I could get a new job.
Most things are just one time things. HTH covered all the bases to help me really get on my feet.”
Melinda has lived in the Irving Park neighborhood for the last six years. She moved from Norwood Park when she found an apartment that was affordable and close to public transportation.
Melinda began working when she was 18 and raised a daughter who is now 21 and is raising a son who is 13. She had worked steadily since she was 18, mostly as a waitress and a secretary, until the middle of 2007. Melinda found out she was pregnant and decided she was not emotionally or financially able to raise another child and made the difficult choice to place her baby for adoption.
Although Melinda believes that she made the best decision for her family and the baby, after the pregnancy and adoption Melinda slipped into a severe depression. Melinda lost her job and got behind in her rent. Melinda had been getting food assistance from the Irving Park Pantry for a few years and learned about Hands To Help Ministries when she visited the pantry in the fall of 2007.
Melinda met with the outreach worker for Hands To Help Ministries. She secured another waitressing job in January 2008. Hands To Help Ministries has provided rent, food, transportation and utility assistance to help stabilize Melinda’s situation so she could succeed in her new job. Despite the new waitressing job, Melinda is still struggling to make ends meet.
Her son qualified for SSI because of an ADHD condition after applying in January 2008. One check was received in July 2008, but Melinda is still waiting for a lump sum check to cover January to June 2008 that was lost in the mail.
Once the lump sum payment is received, Melinda should be able to pay off some debts and be able to become more stable financially. She has moved into a cheaper apartment and continues to look for extra work, such as catering, to supplement the waitressing.
Melinda also suffers from a degenerative eye disease. She had the necessary surgery on one eye a few years ago, but needs to have surgery on the other eye to save her sight. The recovery time for the surgery is about three weeks and she cannot afford to take this time off from work and is not even sure her job would allow her to take the time. Her sight has gotten much worse just in the last six months that Hands To Help has been working with her.
Melinda is continuing to work with Hands To Help Ministries to improve her life.
*Name has been changed to honor confidentiality of clients.