Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another success story to celebrate!

OcelDonaldson was first introduced and referred to CitySquare by another agency and accessed services through the Resource Center with Neighbor Support Services case management.  He originally came to CitySquare in need of financial assistance, employment, transportation and food assistance.

      In January 2011, at intake, Ocell was unemployed and at risk of homelessness.  He received a notice to vacate from his apartment complex, was about to get evicted, and in desperate need of financial rental assistance and assistance with meeting his other basic needs.

      CitySquare's Neighbor Support Services provided Ocell with:  medium term rental assistance (for 9 months),
Intensive Case Management--working on setting and completing goals, provided hygiene and toiletries, bus passes, clothing vouchers to the CitySquare Thrift Store, money management/life skills and employment workshop classes.  He also received food from the pantry and community resources. 

      Today, Ocell Donaldson is stably housed and able to pay his rent each month.  Ocell is also employed full time at DART and has maintained employment at DART for the last 7 months and now receives full benefits. 
      Ocell was referred to CitySquare by West Dallas Multipurpose Center when they could no longer provide Ocell with rental assistance.  CitySquare at that time had Homeless Prevention Rapid-Re-Housing (HPRP) funding, which allowed CitySquare to provide rental assistance to neighbors for up to 18 months, if needed. This funding was designed to provide assistance for a longer period of time, thus allowing a neighbor to get back on their feet, prevent homelessness, and have neighbors keep and maintain their housing by achieving housing stably.  Ocell is the perfect example of what HPRP funding was designed to do. When I first met Ocell in January 2011, he reported that he had been laid off his job in Feb. 2009 and had been struggling to find employment ever since.  Ocell’s unemployment had ran out in Oct. 2010.  

      Unable to find employment Ocell had not been able to pay the rent on his 2-bedroom room apartment.  Ocell is an honest, hard-working neighbor and has even had a poem he wrote published.  He currently is working on writing an entire book of poetry.  

      During the time he received case management through Neighbor Support services, CitySquare was able to provide Ocell with financial assistance with rent and utilities.  We were able to get his landlord to move him into a one-bedroom apartment lowering his rent.  Ocell was dedicated to find employment and provided job search logs, indicating he was willing to do whatever it took to get employed and he was willing to work anywhere.  

       I mailed Ocell a daily bus pass every week so he could attend life skills/employment and money management classes and every week he showed up.  

       During intake, Ocell stated he couldn’t get food stamps and assistance with food.  I referred Ocell to the food stamp representatives downstairs at CitySquare’s food pantry and Ocell began receiving food stamps (SNAP) benefits shortly after.  He also shopped in CitySquare’s pantry to meet his additional food needs.  

      During this time, Ocell had met goals and gained employment, however, he had also experienced set-backs by getting laid off again by his new employer.   When the HPRP grant ended, Ocell had gained employment again allowing him to pay his rent when CitySquare no longer could.  Ocell came in my office a couple of weeks ago and reported that he no longer had that job but has been employed at DART for the last 7 months and receives full benefits, and access to transportation (courtesy of DART).  Ocell is stably housed and pays his rent on time every month.  Ocell is able to meet all his basic needs and more without assistance.  He will frequently stop by CitySquare to say hi and to thank CitySquare for our partnership with him.  During his most recent visit earlier this week, he informed me that his daughter is now enrolled and attending college.
Krystal Lotspeich
Social worker at CitySquare

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