aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

One thing off my plate

Since Thanksgiving I've been trying to help this 62-year-old guy, Paul, after I realized he was sleeping in his car in my neighborhood. He had been doing that since August 13, shortly after his wife left. He gets SS Disability, which is predicated on your household income from a time period two months earlier, so for a long stretch he got something like $155. Then it jumped to $675, which is still not nearly enough to live on.

Things were dark for a long stretch - he was hospitalized for nine days (three in ICU) for something related to his not eating enough. My mechanic declared his car - his transportation and his home and his only valuable possession - in need of a new engine. He found some people who let him stay in their basement, but then one of them had a brother who split with his wife and needed a place to stay just when the weather was turning cold again. Whenever I called him he sounded groggy. He slept more and more, and I was afraid one day he would just go to sleep and not wake up.

Once I stopped working, I told him that I would take him down to this place that helps out homeless old folks. If you are one of the first four people in line you can talk to an intake specialist. It might still take months to get into a place. He had tried only once, when he found men with shopping carts who had spent the nights sleeping on the sidewalk to secure a spot. I told him we would figure out something together. He sounded too depressed to even try that.

He just called me. The people he was staying with have offered to rent him the basement for $250 a month, utilities included. [Full disclosure: I am a terrible person, because I thought he was calling to ask me to go spend the time with in line.] So everything is coming out okay!

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