Mission Moment: The Story of John Hill
John Hill is persistent, patient, hardworking – and for now — homeless.
Unable to work, John found himself unemployed, homeless and without a car. Two years ago, John applied for disability benefits. The process for applying for Disability Benefits is quite complex and requires various visits to state and federal offices throughout the state. John has been required to attend assessment meetings and hearings in Delphi and Kokomo. The judge who hears these cases no longer has an office in Tippecanoe County. Most individuals in our area get assigned to the Indianapolis court but John was assigned a judge in Valparaiso, Indiana. John’s hearing was finally scheduled and this presented John with a serious dilemma – how to get to Valparaiso.
As a guest of the LUM shelter, John meets regularly with a case manager. John’s case manager is also the director of the LUM shelter, Joyce Fasani. When Joyce heard about his upcoming hearing in Valparaiso, she brainstormed ways to assist John. Joyce immediately called on her colleague Mary Anderson, the director of the Good Samaritan Fund. Approving John for funding was the easy part. Joyce and Mary soon realized that getting John to Valparaiso for his hearing would be very difficult.
First, there isn’t a bus that goes directly to Valparaiso. John would have to travel to Chicago and then transfer to another bus to Valparaiso. The bus to Valparaiso departed daily at 6 a.m. which meant John would arrive in Chicago late in the evening and have to stay in the bus station in Chicago overnight. Once in Valparaiso, John needed to get to and from the courthouse. John also needed a place to stay overnight after the hearing because the next bus to Chicago was in the morning. Joyce was able to find a shelter in Valparaiso where John would be fed and given a place to stay. Joyce also arranged transportation to the courthouse and a ride to the bus stop the next morning. Additionally John needed cash for the bus in Valparaiso because he would have to pay the bus driver directly.
Mary and Joyce stepped up and worked out all of the details and developed a schedule for John. Joyce then relayed this information to John including the schedule of his bus travel, his time table, and the contacts giving him rides, meals, and lodging in Valparaiso. Joyce and Mary went above and beyond to make this possible for John. There wasn’t much room for error in this plan, and John would have to be focused enough to get there, performed well at his hearing, and return home to Lafayette; and he did. Joyce and Mary commented that John could have easily given up and said to himself “this is not worth it.” But he didn’t Mary and Joyce are very proud of John and his persistence, positive attitude and hard work in this situation and over the past two years.
Joyce and Mary are happy to report that John won his disability claim and will receive his benefits in December. John’s disability benefits are retroactive. John will at last have the resources to get a home of his own. The philosophy of LUM is to serve clients like John very well – and this is a great example of how much LUM was needed in this situation. Joyce and Mary’s experience, persistence and eagerness to collaborate were what made this story a success.