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Newsletter of Home Comforts A Non-Profit Organization Dedicated to Helping the Mentally Ill Establish and Maintain Their Own Homes August 2012 Molly Has Been Reading About... the Colorado mass shooting and says it reminds her of Texas U.'s long-ago Tower shooting. She says that that shooter was a personal friend of her husband, but developed a brain tumor, confirmed by autopsy but not publicized in the news media. She blames the shootings on the brain tumor and wonders if perhaps the Colorado shooter might not also have a similar condition. *** The Texas Homeless Network emails a prediction that even if next year's federal HUD budget remains at the same figure as this year's, the number of housing units available will decrease because of increased cost of each unit. It also notes that the legislative draft now being considered does provide for more housing units for disabled veterans. *** Our readers will be happy to know that our new savings account, established to guard against the loss of storage space, earned 3¢ last month. *** We ran into another consumer who said he had bought a house from another consumer without realizing that property taxes had been postponed and that he would be liable for all past due taxes. We asked him if he realized that he could also request postponement of taxes due to disability. He said he had wondered about that and would ask. Why doesn't anybody tell consumers these things? *** The case manager said, "You're doing wonderful!" *** Hey, George, Are You Listening? Your clerks and phone operators at University Hospital don't know the difference between telling somebody something — "Yes, we've got your kid" and listening to information — "He's allergic to Haldol". "If the cops bring him in, this is our phone #". We know that by law they can't "discuss a patient"; we aren't trying to get them to "discuss a patient". We're trying to tell them something that might be useful if indeed he should be brought in, and that the doctors and cops have a legal right to know.. Most phone operators at other clinics have been trained to know the difference between talking and listening. Yours haven't. The result is to deprive doctors and/or law officers of information which might be useful to them or in the long run save the county money. The July meeting of the advocacy group heard reps from Cox, Smith describe both state and federal medical privacy laws — "HIPAA" — in some detail. A family speaker described an instance in which staff refused to recognize a medical power of attorney and another when a licensed psychologist was denied an opportunity to present facts bearing on the case. The attorneys pointed out that state laws are in some respects more stringent than the federal and opined that state laws should be amended to correspond with HIPAA. If we understood correctly, even tighter rules are expected to go into effect in September. Automata aren't too much help in a medical emergency. Can't you educate instructors to give them more precise and generally helpful instructions? We Thank Connie Sommers... an attorney specializing in Social Security appeals, for such info as we were able to develop about current Social Security practices. Her info is that yes, anyone detained in jail for any reason for 30 days or more loses SS benefits for the time of his detention. This is not inflicted as a punishment, but because the feds reason that if the state and county are supporting him, they don't need to. (The same reasoning, of course, applies to state hospitals.) Benefits for any dependent are NOT cut off. Should the detainee NOT be found guilty of the offense, either at trial or on appeal, benefits may be reinstated on an "expedited" basis. If guilty or serving time in prison, defendant must re-apply for S.S. benefits. Connie tells us, however, that if the sentence is six months or less there are new rules providing for expedited reinstatement of benefits. A new application is not necessary. We also thank John Heard, another Social Security attorney, who wasn't sure himself but did know somebody who did know and took the time to help us out! It is suggested that for more info we should contact a local Social Security agent, but we haven't had time. (Anybody want to help out?) The Social Worker... was exasperated. The food stamps wouldn't be in for two weeks. He took his client to the food bank closest to his new home, but it was out of stuff, so they went to the next closest. It was closed. At the Salvation Army they were told to come back next week. At CAM they were given rice and pinto beans, a loaf of bread, and a few cans of vegetables. I said uhhhhhhh--several of our members live in a complex for the elderly where lots of surplus food is distributed; would he like me to ask around? He sure would. So I did, and the social worker very promptly came by to pick it up. He got enough stuff that the client wouldn't go hungry for a while. May we suggest — if you are someone who donates a little every once in a while to a food bank, please not more pinto beans and rice. The manufacturers give enough of those things. Try chili, or Spam, or hash. More About Oven Cleaner and Housing Costs If a client is evicted, it costs the landlord attorney fees and court costs, which may sometimes be charged back to a government account, plus the cost of cleaning and repairing the apartment, plus any rent loss due to vacancy, also sometimes absorbed by various housing plans If the tenant remains on Section 8 he will be charged $30 for every credit check, plus the first month's rent, plus a deposit of about $300, PLUS an additional $100 for every eviction, every bad credit report, and every prison sentence, and, I think, state jail offense. If his application is rejected and he reapplies somewhere else he will be charged the same thing all over again. These figures were verified by several management companies who manage more than one property. They are also a reason we get calls from Legal Aid wanting help with their client's finances. If guardianship or child custody proceedings result, add several hundred more tax dollars. We don't know how much it costs the City to keep someone in Haven for Hope; we would guess plenty. So, when we get a frantic call from a social worker that a client is about to be evicted because her oven needs cleaning and she doesn't have any oven cleaner, we expedite. It's cheaper that way. Good News? We heard of at least two more groups who are interested in providing supplies for the homes of people in need. Seton Home is working on a program to help kids aging out of foster care establish their own homes and estimates that perhaps two a month might meet our standards of a chronic mental illness. Carolyn Meyer of the Sanctuary Fund is interested in supporting this effort. We're talking. Also, "Giving Interiors" in Boerne has a very ambitious program to collect and distribute furniture among the needy population. This group provided our local Center for Health Care Services with two full-size bed mattresses last month, for which we are most appreciative. We're also exchanging information with them. We're glad to see other groups interested in furnishing basic sanitary and cleaning supplies. Dr. Felix-Ortiz at Incarnate Word... is sponsoring a research study for her students requiring them to interview both advocates and professionals for opinions on what persons discharged from SASH most need. Your editor was interviewed and offered, in general, that they need more training in the skills of living in the outside world and in advance planning, particularly "walking them through" various procedures — teaching to the muscles, not just telling them something. In general, of course, many of them need better medication. These are not novel ideas, but are, in my opinion, justified. Some other of our Board members have also offered to participate. Director's Report Your director is happy to report that a number of churches are expressing some interest in helping us out (goodness knows we need it) including St. David's, the Friends, and the Evers Road Christian Church. We needed a substitute speaker to fill in in a hurry at the Women's Circle at Trinity Missionary Baptist, and Len obliged, taking with her our usual can-opener, application forms, and bundle of brochures. Returned a short time later with boxes of stuff and pronounced the event a success. Thank you, dear Women's Circle! (Len, too!) Rev. Walton of Evers Road Christian Church attended our last Board Meeting and expressed interest both in getting involved himself and also in interesting the members of his congregation. He's working on it. Barbara Peters and the Renards re-up; Judith Laufer sends us a nice note with her donation. Mary Beth Romeo called to tell us about some furniture abandoned by her apartment dumpster, but it was gone before we could get there. The usual "Welcome Baskets" were slow in going out this month — money and illness — but on the other hand we had a number of substantial furniture donations, many more than usual, which is always good. Help, anybody? Membership Application Name _________________________________ Address _______________________________ City, State, Zip _________________________ 1st Phone ______________________________ 2nd Phone ______________________________ E-Mail _________________________________ Individual/Family Membership--$35 annually Business/Group Membership--$50 annually If you request a hardship waiver of dues, or credit for a previous donation, please tell us. Fees and donations are, of course, tax-deductible. ***** The next Board Meeting 3rd Thursday in September, September 20th 1:00 p.m. at One Castle Hills (HEB Federal Credit Union) Blanco & Loop 410, 5th Floor Conference Room Everybody invited! Small donations may be brought to the meeting or left in the office at Monarch. *** Board of Directors Jim Gerhard, President Larry Mack, Vice-President Betty Lytle-Hopkins, Secretary Laura Burt, C.P.A., Treasurer Glenn Ellison, Director at Large Patsy Cheyney, Director at Large and Volunteer Executive Director 311 S. St. Mary's, #5-T San Antonio, Texas 78205 Telephone: (210) 222-8736, or 402-7359 firstname.lastname@example.org The generous gifts of the following donors are most gratefully acknowledged. Because of them, the lives of the mentally ill among us were a little bit better. Institutional and Sustaining Donors Air Force Village I Thrift Shop Bexar County The Assistance League Church of the Resurrection, Episcopal Baptist Health Foundation Community Unitarian Church Believers' Class, N.E. Baptist Church Jefferson Methodist Church The Bennett Family Foundation Randolph Field Enlisted Spouses Club In Loving Memory of Chris Lambert, by Joanne Lambert Individual Donors Della Andretti Fred & Sandra Hunt Yolanda Musquiz Julia Benavides Margaret Joseph Dr. & Mrs. Andre Ognibene The Brunell Family Joanna Kaye Charley Pond Laura Burt Pam Kirk Carmen Restropo David Cheyney Carmen Landry Ruth Stewart Trent Cheyney Bertha Lopez Manuel Suarez Maria Diaz Betty Lytle-Hopkins Sylvia Wheeler Jim Gerhard Maria Martin Pat Wooley Thomas Gonzalez Ana Milsch Volunteers Norma Babin Jim Gerhard Betty Lytle-Hopkins Rachel Cheyney Bea Glass Joe Medina Trent Cheyney Karl Gough Inga Moffett Marilyn DeKing Betty Granheim Dr. Stephen Shanfield Maria Diaz Mary Green David Shershun Glenn Ellison Frank Hernandez Ruth Stewart Matilda Errisurez Joanna Kaye Len Wheeler SOMEONE REMINDS US, "Stigma Results Also From the Failure to Say Good Things About People."
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