July 1, 2010

A Hundred Dreams

Back in February, I told you a bit about Mr. T, an elderly and disabled client whom I work with in case management here at Bread for the City. One of Mr. T's goals was to secure safe and affordable housing. In order to reach this goal, he and I submitted many applications for site based subsidized housing. He was on a total of 11 waitlists. This left him in a constant state of stress because he didn’t know when stable housing was going to come through.

That’s why I asked all of our readers if anyone had a DVD player, so that Mr. T could watch some movies, especially Westerns, which help him relax. As often happens at Bread for the City, some generous folks stepped up and now Mr. T has a DVD player and a few new Westerns to watch.

Today I'm pleased to bring you an update: in March Mr. T signed a lease for a subsidized apartment! Now he pays 30% of his income towards his rent every month, which is affordable and sustainable. There is a bus stop right out front of his building, which Mr. T likes because it means he can get to Bread for the City and other places fairly easily.

When he moved into his new apartment, he didn’t bring any furniture with him, because the few pieces of furniture he'd had in his old place were infested with bedbugs. So I wrote him a referral to A Wider Circle, an agency in Maryland that provides gently used furniture (and other household items like sheets and dishes) to folks like Mr. T. The day that we picked up his furniture was a great day of cooperation amongst the staff at Bread for the City. One of Bread for the City's dependable drivers drove Mr. T and me out to A Wider Circle, where Mr. T worked with the volunteers to pick out furniture and dishes for his whole apartment. We loaded them into the truck and drove over to Mr. T’s apartment, where two other Bread for the City staff members met us to help unload all of the furniture into Mr. T’s apartment. We then made sure that we got his bed all set up before we left. I felt so grateful to be working alongside people who are ready to collaborate, even beyond their regular responsibilities, to help the individuals with whom we work.

When I spoke to Mr. T the next day, he told me, “I think I dreamed a hundred dreams last night, because that new bed is so comfortable.” This was a very different story than I heard from Mr. T back in February, when he'd been having lots of trouble sleeping because of stress. Even since moving into his new apartment, he was having trouble sleeping because he was sleeping in a lawn chair. I think he's excited about all of his furniture, but the new bed is hugely significant to Mr. T. Not only does he sleep better, but I think it's symbolic of something more. Hearing Mr. T talk about his new bed and all of the dreams he had while sleeping on it was enough to bring tears to my eyes.

The timing of all of this was especially great because Mr. T was able to celebrate at our Client Achievement Ceremony, hosted a few weeks ago. He really dressed up for the occasion. Mr. T feels very proud of all of his work, and told me that he plans to put his Certificate of Achievement up on the wall in his new apartment. Thank you, Mr. T, for allowing me to walk alongside you on this part of your journey.

1 comment:

Kristina said...

I love this.
Good work, Hannah!