Islanders feel the benefit of your donations in many ways.
From time to time, we'll post true stories of how you help to improve the quality of life for those in need. As you'll see from the stories below, we're often called upon to help people in quite unique ways.
Aging in Place.
This term describes what happens eventually to all of us; but living close to the poverty line presents additional challenges. Joe and June had been together for over 40 years. At age 76, June was more than a decade older than Joe and had not been able to work for the past 5 years due to poor health. Joe was still working, so between his salary and her social security check, their bills were paid with just a little to spare. When June died last month, her minimal social security ended. Joe was caught short on his rent, and he turned to us for help. Deep Well interviewed Joe and learned that he had a plan in place to solve the problem; however he needed help with the coming month's rent. Deep Well paid his rent and Joe will be getting a roommate to help with future rent payments.
It is hard to imagine going through the grief of losing your life partner and also having to worry about keeping a roof over your head. Donations made to The Deep Well Project provided financil relief for Joe during this devastating time in his life.
When Catastrophe Strikes.
Martha is a middle aged woman living alone with a job that allows her to pay her monthly bills, yet is not enough to allow for any savings. Last month she had a fire in her rental home that left it uninhabitable. She could temporarily stay with friends, but was looking to Deep Well to help her get into a new place. Meanwhile, her caring employer called to tell us about her situation and her needs.
After another 2 weeks, Martha called back. She had found a new living situation that she could afford, yet she didn't have enough money for both the rent and deposit. Deep Well was able to help with a full month's rent after Martha paid her deposit. We also sent her a voucher that would allow her to come to our facility and pick out furniture at no charge.
Fires can certainly be devastating, yet we are glad that it was not tragic with loss of life. Deep Well will always be here to help fire victims put their lives back together.
Help with dignity.
Edna and Sara are mother and daughter living together in an older mobile home with several children and grandchildren. Both women have always worked, and even though their jobs were low-paying, they managed to pay their bills every month. Their income had no room for saving for needed home maintenance and repairs. This spring, Edna called our office and spoke with Rita Jones, head of the Deep Well Livable Housing program, to ask for help with a leaky roof. Upon inspection, it was evident that an entire new roof would be needed and several roofers submitted quotes.
But, bad news follows bad news! The roofers were nearly done with the new roof when the air conditioner went out during a brutally hot summer. The unit was very old and it also needed a total replacement. We were able to get estimates quickly and within a short time the family was cool again. A basic tenet of any Deep Well program is to provide a way that a client can retain dignity within the need for help. Whenever expensive work is done on a home and the clients are working, we ask them to repay at least part of the expense. The amount is determined by sitting with a client during a budgeting session and a "down payment" with a modest monthly repayment rate is agreed upon. In some cases this amount may be as little as $10 a month. It is our experience that clients proudly come into our office to make their repayments. In this way, they just feel better about accepting help on such a large scale.
When illness strikes.
Andrew's daughter called us from across the country a few weeks ago and said she was on her way to Hilton Head to help her father who had just suffered a stroke. When Andrew and his daughter showed up at Deep Well, we were surprised to see he was only 61 years old, for he looked 20 years older. Andrew had done a good job of managing his affairs. He had a good job and rented out a room in his modest condo to help with the expenses. But the stroke meant that none of his basic bills could be paid until he could return to work.
Deep Well was able to help him with food, a mortgage payment, car insurance, and an electric bill. Also, in researching ownership of his condo, we noticed that he was paying a large amount for property taxes. We advised Andrew to apply for the 4% rate for permanent resident home owners which would drastically reduce his tax obligation. We are hopeful that Andrew will be able to get back to work soon, but if not he will be eligible for social security in just 2 months which should be a big help with his budget.
Serious illness turns a life upside down in a matter of minutes. Having no reserve fund to see a person through the time missed from work magnifies an already difficult situation. Thanks to our donors, people like Andrew will be provided with basic needs until they can be self-sufficient.