Financial Stability through Emotional Support
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Financial Stability through Emotional Support

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July 22, 2011

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Find out more about NCOA's Economic Security Initiative.

Mr. T was stressed out about the debts he owed to his landlord.

That’s why he came to an economic security clinic hosted by Lenox Hill Neighborhood House—one of NCOA’s pilot economic security service centers that helps over 10,000 older adults in New York City receive benefits, meals, legal assistance, and economic support.

Seeking help for depression

During his comprehensive assessment, Mr. T shared that he was so depressed by his situation that he had contemplated suicide. Addressing Mr. T's mental health crisis therefore became the first priority.

The social worker contracted with Mr. T to speak with his doctor about his feelings so that he could obtain treatment. The social worker provided support for Mr. T during this process, and once his mental health stabilized, she was able to begin to work with him to address his financial issues.

Learning to budget

Mr. T earned enough income to pay his expenses, but struggled each month to pay his full rent. The Lenox Hill social worker determined that Mr. T’s inability to manage his finances resulted from organic cognitive issues and was exacerbated by his mental health situation. Initially, he was not receptive to financial management assistance; however, his opinion changed when his landlord commenced eviction proceedings. 

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House’s in-house legal department was able to take on the case. The center arranged for private grants to pay the rental arrears and for a heavy-duty cleaning of his apartment, which ultimately stopped the eviction proceedings. As the result of this crisis, Mr. T realized the need for ongoing assistance with his finances. 

Mr. T now meets monthly with his social worker, who helps him write out checks for his bills, thereby safeguarding his housing situation. Having this situation rectified has also greatly improved his mental health. 

By addressing Mr. T’s most crucial need first—the need for mental health services and support—Lenox Hill was able to help Mr. T safeguard his housing and keep him functioning in the community.

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older adults don't have to choose between paying for medicine or food.

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