February 2, 2011

Our friend Donna moves onward

Last week, we introduced you to our Representative Payee program. This week, we’d like to share a little bit about one of our longtime Rep Payee clients who has made great progress: Donna Hendricks. (You can see Donna featured in a video series on Bread for the City by Stone Soup Films -- watch her feature here.)

Over the course of more than a decade, Donna Hendricks struggled with homelessness and mental illness. She turned to Bread for the City for help with food and medical care.

"Dr. Randi saved my life, and not just once,” says Donna, who has recovered from two heart attacks and a stroke.

After years of service, our relationship with Donna deepened when we became her Representative Payee. This means that Bread for the City became the recipient of her disability benefits; we paid her rent and bills; and we worked with her to manage a budget.

Three years ago, with the help of a Bread for the City case manager, Donna moved into her own apartment for the first time in more than a decade. She’s been living there happily since, and recently got her own cat named Nina. Soon after she first moved in, Donna brought home one of Bread for the City’s Holiday Helpings packages -- a complete turkey dinner for Thanksgiving -- and realized she couldn’t eat it all herself. So she invited her neighbors in the apartment complex over to share the feast. “We’ve been friends ever since,” she says.

We are proud to say that, as of the new year, Donna has "moved on" from our Rep Payee program. She has opened a personal bank account, and today, she is her own payee! It is a major accomplishment and we are very proud of her.

“I'm paying my own electric, gas, and phone bills,” says Donna. “This is what it feels like to be more independent."

Today, Donna even manages to save enough money to make donations to Bread for the City -- including to the Capital Campaign for our Northwest Center expansion. She has also become a member of our Client Advisory Board, providing feedback on our programs and helping to set our advocacy agenda. You’ll hear more from her in the future!

1 comment:

Bravegirl01 said...

this is so great, HOW did you manage it??? "Solving" the homeless problem only happens in person-by-person increments...so what's the process?