Need Foundation pairs disabled with homeless, lacks funds FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 29 Nov 1998 21:09:03 -0400


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http://www.suntimes.com:80/output/news/need28.html
FWD  Chicago Sun Times - November 28, 1998


AGNECY THAT PAIRS DISABLED WITH HOMELESS FACES CRISIS

By Carlos Sadovi - Suburban Reporter


 Jimmy Dunn and Patrick Collier know they need each other.

``He takes care of me; that's what I like,'' Dunn, 88, said, his voice
beginning to quiver while his good hand gripped his paralyzed right one.
``I would be in a nursing home. Living at home's [better], if you got
help.''

Collier, 49, knows that without Dunn, he wouldn't know where to go.

``I would have been homeless. I was close,'' Collier said.

The two men were paired up by the La Grange-based Need Foundation, a
nonprofit agency that supplies home care to the elderly and disabled using
homeless people as primary care givers.

The group began after its founder couldn't find affordable in-home care for
his wife after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, said Louise
Hoekstra, the group's executive director.

The agency, possibly the first of its kind in the nation, has teamed up
more than 5,000 care givers and care receivers since 1989.

``It's their objective to stay in their home as long as they can,''
Hoekstra said of the people the organization serves. ``As long as we can
keep them at home, we're keeping them out of state-funded nursing homes.''

But the group, which receives no state or federal money and only gets
donations and money from fund-raisers, is facing an economic crisis and may
be forced to close at the end of next month.

Pairing up clients is not a simple task, Hoekstra said.

Before anyone is considered to give in-home care, they must pass personal,
work and criminal background checks. They also go through interviews and
must pass drop-in inspections.

Collier, who lives with Dunn in his family's rural Hinckley home, said he
had to go through a monthlong series of checks and interviews. He has been
working with Dunn for several months.

While in-home care could run into the thousands of dollars for families of
elderly or disabled individuals, this program costs them the price of room
and board. The providers receive a stipend from the recipient, ranging from
$100 for a five-day workweek to $150 for a seven-day week.

Collier's days are long, usually 15 hours, spent cleaning, grooming,
feeding, cooking and driving Dunn to doctors or running errands.

He also helps Dunn with physical therapy and dispenses medication. Dunn was
left partially paralyzed by a stroke and recently had a leg amputated.

Collier lost his job just three months after moving to the area from New
York City, when AT&T closed its Itasca center. For several years he lived
at the Oak Park YMCA and worked for another nonprofit agency that
eventually closed after its funding dried up. Renovations at the YMCA left
him scrambling for a new place to live.

Hoekstra said Collier's story is typical. Often, the homeless people they
place are older people who have been downsized out of a job. Many also have
backgrounds in health care.

She said the work gives people a way to get their lives back together and
lets the care receiver feel good.

END FORWARD
-
** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

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FWD  Chicago Sun Times - November 28, 1998



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>AGNECY THAT PAIRS DISABLED WITH
HOMELESS FACES CRISIS


By Carlos Sadovi - Suburban Reporter 

</paraindent>


 Jimmy Dunn and Patrick Collier know they need each other.


``He takes care of me; that's what I like,'' Dunn, 88, said, his voice
beginning to quiver while his good hand gripped his paralyzed right
one. ``I would be in a nursing home. Living at home's [better], if you
got help.''


Collier, 49, knows that without Dunn, he wouldn't know where to go.


``I would have been homeless. I was close,'' Collier said.


The two men were paired up by the La Grange-based Need Foundation, a
nonprofit agency that supplies home care to the elderly and disabled
using homeless people as primary care givers.


The group began after its founder couldn't find affordable in-home care
for his wife after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, said
Louise Hoekstra, the group's executive director.


The agency, possibly the first of its kind in the nation, has teamed up
more than 5,000 care givers and care receivers since 1989.


``It's their objective to stay in their home as long as they can,''
Hoekstra said of the people the organization serves. ``As long as we
can keep them at home, we're keeping them out of state-funded nursing
homes.''


But the group, which receives no state or federal money and only gets
donations and money from fund-raisers, is facing an economic crisis and
may be forced to close at the end of next month.


Pairing up clients is not a simple task, Hoekstra said.


Before anyone is considered to give in-home care, they must pass
personal, work and criminal background checks. They also go through
interviews and must pass drop-in inspections.


Collier, who lives with Dunn in his family's rural Hinckley home, said
he had to go through a monthlong series of checks and interviews. He
has been working with Dunn for several months.


While in-home care could run into the thousands of dollars for families
of elderly or disabled individuals, this program costs them the price
of room and board. The providers receive a stipend from the recipient,
ranging from $100 for a five-day workweek to $150 for a seven-day
week.


Collier's days are long, usually 15 hours, spent cleaning, grooming,
feeding, cooking and driving Dunn to doctors or running errands.


He also helps Dunn with physical therapy and dispenses medication. Dunn
was left partially paralyzed by a stroke and recently had a leg
amputated.


Collier lost his job just three months after moving to the area from
New York City, when AT&T closed its Itasca center. For several years he
lived at the Oak Park YMCA and worked for another nonprofit agency that
eventually closed after its funding dried up. Renovations at the YMCA
left him scrambling for a new place to live.


Hoekstra said Collier's story is typical. Often, the homeless people
they place are older people who have been downsized out of a job. Many
also have backgrounds in health care.


She said the work gives people a way to get their lives back together
and lets the care receiver feel good.


END FORWARD

-

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink.net>

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