September Success Stories
SH's brother was recently shot and killed in the middle of the street. Terry Burke helped the elderly man apply and receive financial assistance. She also arranged referrals for the victim and his niece to Florida Rural Legal Services regarding the victim's property and belongings. Groceries from the pantry were brought to the victim's home for his large family. Other resources provided included a list of pantries, counseling, free meals, free clothing closets for the children and a referral for assistance through the Early Learning Coalition. The family will be following up with a trauma support group.
Laura Cusack and several interns started a series of groups called "Real Talk" at the Milagro Center for middle and high school youth. These weekly groups will run all semester and cover topics relating to relationships, identity, and being a teen in today's world. The interns enjoyed creating and leading discussions with the youth.
Amber Lott assisted a widower who lost his wife in an unexpected and terrible manner. Paying for the funeral and contracting COVID-19 caused him to fall behind on his FPL bill. Staff paid the power bill and signed him up for delivered meals, which took a lot of stress off his daughters. 94 families have received rent/utility aide.
We're researching how to conduct a virtual race to honor all the donors and registered runner in canceled event.
Dan Shorter arranged for WPB Rotary to adopt five CILO clients for $1,000 Christmas donations.
KJ was a young man with a bright future who joined the military ready to serve his country. He was sexually assaulted in boot camp and also witnessed a friend being attacked by the same solider. KJ reported the crimes to his superior and then was bullied by friends of the man who victimized him. KJ withdrew from the military and came home feeling like a failure with no hope. He was referred to our office by a SWAT officer after barricading himself in his home and threatening suicide. Libby Snider linked him to a free counselor to help with his depression/anxiety and a school to help get a degree in gaming. Libby also connected the client to lawyers to try and get disability.
Ana Pacheco heard from a victim of domestic violence who was receiving threatening graphic images and feared for her life. Working together with the sheriff's office, the abuser was found, served with a warrant and arrested. The victim has since received numerous services from CILO including financial and food pantry services.
MM is in dire need of transportation to and from the doctor's office. Clayton Lawson explained how free Medicaid transportation works for non-emergencies. Then MM arranged transportation for a doctor's appointment. The next step is to help her learn self-advocacy skills so she can arrange for an ASL interpreter to be present for the doctor appointments.
Janyce Gonzalez set up a food delivery got L.M and her friend. On the day the groceries were dropped off L.M. called crying. She wanted to thank CILO for all that was done for her and her friend. Almost 200 people in 70 families received food in September and another 33 received deliveries through our DINE program.
Irene Sirois taught Heather Moynahan how to use Zoom Meetings & Chat Groups on her laptop so she can participate in deaf/hard of hearing online events.
A.V. is a minor who has suffered neglect and sexual abuse. His grandparents recently gained custody of A.V. and considered institutionalizing him due to his behavior issues. They they reached out to CILO for help. Amber Faulhaber arranged counseling for A.V. and connected the family with Darlene Williamson for educational advocacy to ensure he gets the support he requires in school.
P.S., who is blind, was pressured into accepting a 19-year-old as a roommate. The teenager's mother said he would help with rent around the house. But the roommate became extremely abusive mentally, verbally, and physically and never paid a dime rent.
P.S. even tried locking the abuser out of the house, but he broke a window and forced his way back in. Deputies were called multiple times but explained that because he was her roommate, he had just as much right to be in her house as she did and he could break windows if he wanted. The victim was mocked by the abuser because there wasn't a thing she could do to get him out of the house.
When William Genem received the referral, he quickly tried to have the victim fill out an intake. But it was intercepted and destroyed by the abuser twice. So William arranged for Legal Aid to take a direct call without a referral for an expedited restraining order. William then took the woman to the courthouse to submit her forms. He then picked up the order from the courthouse the next day. Instead of waiting for a deputy to serve the abuser, William contacted PBSO's non-emergency hotline and explained that he needed a deputy to meet him at the victim's house to serve the abuser. William met two deputies at the house and explained the process of serving the abuser. The deputies contacted their civil unit for instructions and then served the abuser.
However, the abuser told the deputies the name on the restraining order was not his. The victim is blind so they couldn't get a positive ID of the young man. Deputies even brought a special unit to fingerprint the abuser but were not able to identify him. This meant the deputies could not formally serve the abuser, and the restraining order was not binding.
William asked the deputies if they could tell the abuser that the summons was still meant for him and that he needed to leave the house and adhere to the restraining order. Deputies also instructed the abuser to show up in court to provide proper ID on the date of the hearing. William's plan was to quickly amend the restraining order to the correct name and have him served in court. William also pulled the abuser aside and explained that this type of behavior will only ruin his life. The abuser said the victim was exaggerating. William asked the abuser if he had broken the window and he admitted he did. William explained to the teen that the victim is elderly and blind and that type of behavior is very frightening to someone in her situation.
The teenager understood and said he doesn't really want to live there. Deputies asked him if he had a place to live because he needed to leave. The teen said he could go live with a friend in Port St. Lucie. William recommended he to do so and stay away from the victim because staying in such a situation would prove unfavorable to him.
The abuser agreed and picked up his belongings. He asked if he could come back to get the rest and a deputy explained that he needs to call PBSO ahead of time so that a deputy can be present when he returns. The abuser said he understood and got a Lyft and left.
William arranged transportation for the victim on the day of the hearing but the abuser still didn't showed up. The hearing was postponed to 9/30/2020 , but the abuser still didn't show up. At this point, the victim believes his mother sent him to Tampa to avoid further issues with the law. It is uncertain if the abuser will be able to be served, but the tactic used by the deputies and William ensured he left the house and the victim has not been contacted or harassed since.
The next fight was between the victim and her landlord. He said she had to leave the house because of the broken window. William explained to the victim that a broken window is not grounds for eviction and connected her with the landlord-tenant section for Legal Aid. Its attorneys will assist the victim with an issues she has with her landlord and the abuser.
Ann Koebe is working on a case for a kindergartner who is in the process of being identified through the school district as a student with a disability. He has auditory sensitivity and is having extreme behavioral issues that are being exacerbated by the sound of the microphone coming into the classroom for students who're attending remotely. We're brainstorming interventions while the parents (particularly the father) are struggling with the fact that their child has a disability.
BG, 59, contacted Joe Anderson about a past due rent notice. CILO covered the rent, and Joe also assisted BG with applying for additional money from the county from the CARES fund.
After much effort Darlene Williamson finally got an IEP meeting scheduled and a plan approved for a student who received the support needed and is doing well.
Michele Sanz facilitated a virtual support group online for Harbor Network on how to cope with anxiety, where 13 victims were identified. Participants talked about which techniques they thought would work best for them.
Susan Carberry is enduring an appeal process for a client who has lymphoma, immunity deficits, heart problems and a host of other health issues. SSA denied her initial claim in January. Susan filed a request for reconsideration and as Sept. 30th there was still no decision. This client was hospitalized on a ventilator for weeks due to COVID-19. The SSA adjudicator recently explained that the delay in a decision is because of medical records related to her virus hospitalization. Nine months and counting on a first-level appeal. Way too long for someone in such poor health!
Rebecca Jonguitud is working with a client who has mental health disabilities and is on a fixed income. The client has no support system and recently lost a loved one. One their goals was to apply for food stamps/ Rebecca assisted with accomplishing this goal and in applying for a Medicare Premium Waiver. The client was then denied and became overwhelmed. Rebecca advocated with the Department of Children and Families right away to approve the applications. The client is now receiving food stamps, the QMB was approved and the client has more monthly disposable income to cover expenses.
As September is the final month of the FAA contract, Klaudia Glavan reviewed all youth files and made sure students met their yearly outcome. Thirty-six youth successfully achieved an outcome. Klaudia is working with Elizabeth Corsi, Jaslynne Mitchell and Steve Ellis to develop content for the ALERT Program while transitioning to the new contract year.