Restoring Sight and Hope to One in Need
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Restoring Sight and Hope to One in Need

March 20, 2012

Houston, TX is one of many communities that have been hit particularly hard by the recent recession. Under a partnership between NCOA and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Care for Elders in Houston is one of six sites across the country that’s being funded to help vulnerable seniors in the community receive one-on-one financial assistance. Here’s the story of just one of hundreds of seniors they’ve been able to assist:

Mr. Tyler* is a 62-year-old with multiple chronic conditions, including congestive heart failure and diabetes. When he called the 2-1-1 Texas/United Way Helpline, Tyler had fallen behind on his rent and could not pay the $200 in late fees. Through 2-1-1 and the Care for Elders Access Network, he was connected to case manager Gloria Berendzen at Catholic Charities.

Berendzen visited Tyler at home, where Tyler’s worsening diabetes led to loss of sight and one leg, leaving him unable return to work or afford health insurance. Tyler was subsisting on medication samples from his doctors to manage his health and was in danger of eviction.

Working together, Berendzen helped Tyler to:

  • Enroll in Medicare as a non-senior with a disability, and access Medicare programs for low-income individuals to get help with co-pays, premiums, and prescription drugs.
  • Connect to local utility assistance and home delivered meal programs.
  • Access the Care for Elders Flexible Funding Pool for one-time assistance to help pay his apartment late fees.
  • Create a budget to meet his monthly expenses.

Now, having enrolled in all the benefits he’s eligible to receive, Tyler is able to get a prosthetic limb and needed eye surgery.

When Berendzen assessed the changes in Tyler’s life, she saw improvement in the areas of health, housing/food, finances, and mobility. Tyler has his own assessment—now he calls his case manager his “angel” for helping him to stay in his home.

*Name and some identifying details have been changed.


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