November 13, 2008

"Helping People" Profile

I just heard this story yesterday that I have to share -- it's a sad one:

After successfully receiving a green card in 1996, Mr N immigrated to America and worked for many years at a gas station. But two years ago, Mr N suddenly suffered a terrible setback when he was robbed and shot. The bullet hit his spinal cord. To make matters worse, Mr. N’s social security card and green card were stolen in the robbery. Mr. N lost basically everything.

For the last two years, Mr N has been recovering at Christ House -- an organization that does truly great work for people in very vulnerable situations. Christ House took good care of him, but Mr. N lacked all the resources needed to make this transition back to the outside world.

At Bread for the City, our legal-&-social-service case manager Sara Mazala, has been working for about six months with Mr. N. Recently, they've made great progress. Sara helped him re-acquire his green card and other paperwork, and she helped him acquire a motorized wheelchair. Even more important: Sara helped him apply for and receive Social Security Disability Insurance. (Mr. N has a long work history, and his permanent legal resident status entitles him to about $900 a month of benefits - certainly not a lot, but enough for him to get by.) Sara is now working with Mr N to find housing that is both affordable (for 30% of his income) and accommodating for his handicap.

It’s one of the many truly sad stories we hear around here at Bread for the City; fortunately, in this case we were able to help ensure that a difficult situation did not take a turn for the worse. Thank you for your work, Sara!

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