Meeting urgent needs . . . enabling long term solutions.
This tag line, “meeting urgent needs . . . enabling long term solutions,” is used to succinctly describe our mission of responding to immediate needs by providing information, referral services, emergency assistance and hope to those living on the margins of our society.
The following story of one person’s real-life situation brings our mission into perspective.
Meeting Urgent Needs: A recent client, let’s call her “Linda” called CityHeart in asking for help with her water bill. She was referred to CityHeart by a health care social worker whose assignment was ending and would be unable to continue services. We learned that both Linda and her long-time companion, we’ll call him “Eddie,” both had Covid.
Eddie died from Covid complications in February leaving Linda grief stricken and in financial hardship. Once a two-income household, she is now struggling to pay all the bills that they had previously shared. The water usage is billed through the property management company on a monthly basis, a “third party” utility arrangement that is actually added to the monthly rent. Both Eddie and Linda were listed on the lease for their apartment, but the rent is just too high for her alone. Linda refuses to move because she doesn’t want to give up her pets.
Linda has never used a computer, doesn’t have a smartphone, and is therefore limited in methods of communication and access to resources for assistance. She was not at immediate risk of losing water service, but the landlord was getting very anxious as the total accumulated. CityHeart spent many hours on numerous interactions with the client, social worker, property manager and other organizations. CityHeart is the only organization in the regular network of utility providers that would help with third party water service because it is considered rent and they only help with utilities. In May, Linda paid her normal rent and CityHeart paid toward the past due water so that she would not be at risk of being evicted from her home. As we so often do, CityHeart filled the gap in services.
Enabling Long Term Solutions: In the course of working with Linda and assessing her overall needs, it became increasingly apparent that she would not be able to sustain her current living situation with just one income. She was still distraught at the loss of her partner and was feeling hopeless.
With the care and compassion that CityHeart is known for, we tactfully discussed more affordable housing options and other services that she might be eligible to receive. We reached out to a local provider of case management services for Seniors and made the connection for Linda to be admitted to the program. She will receive one-on-one services from a caring case manager that will walk alongside her during these difficult life transitions. CityHeart helped to build a bridge that will ease her process.
Experience and evidence show that meeting urgent needs must take place first before any individual or family can move forward to long term solutions for their problems. Linda is working with her new case manager and they have identified a subsidized housing property in her neighborhood that will accept dogs. They are working on other applications that will make both food and utilities affordable for her income level. Linda is grateful for the help and hope!
How can you help us fill the gaps? We invite you to join CityHeart in our mission of meeting urgent needs and enabling long term solutions for clients like Linda.
Please consider donating or becoming a volunteer today!