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Success Stories

Here are some examples of how working with ILRCSF helped  people with disabilities to take ownership of their lives.

How Janice Found New Friends and Community

Two smiling women are in the stands at a baseball game.“Ten years ago, I was in a car accident that left me paralyzed. I was placed in a nursing home, but I never gave up my dream of living independently. I worked with ILRCSF and other community agencies so that I could gain the skills and resources I would need for living on my own. It was a long process, but I was recently discharged, and I am now living in a subsidized apartment.

“Last Spring, I attended a baseball game with a group of other ILRCSF consumers, using tickets we got through the Community Activities Program. It was a great experience, not only because I had never been to a baseball game before, but because I met a group of people from my own community who have since become my friends. We’ve gone on several outings together using tickets from ILRCSF – to concerts, museums, and all sorts of sporting events. This wasn’t possible for me when I was in a nursing home.”
— Janice (pseudonym, to protect privacy)

Nick Feldman Device Lending Library Opens a New World for Dan

A young boy sits in a wheelchair manipulating a portable computer screen. A middle aged man holding a baby looks on.“I’ve had multiple disabilities all my life, caused by a degenerative condition. When it became that I’d have to give up my job, and spend more and more time at home, due to chronic pain and limited mobility, I was determined to keep living independently. I have wonderful family members who were willing to take me in, but I love living alone and living on my own terms. I called ILRCSF, and their AT Educator paid a home visit, to discuss assistive technology options that could help me keep living the way I like to. She was able to set me up with an Amazon Echo unit from the Nick Feldman Device Lending Library, which made it possible for me to order groceries, hear the news and weather, choose music or an audio book, and even control my television and other appliances with just the sound of my voice! ILRCSF matched me up with a Technology Mentor who meets with me weekly. He’s teaching me about the many Echo features I haven’t yet discovered, and also how to make the most out of the accessibility features on my Ipad. I’m now using Facetime to stay connected to my family, and they can see that I’m just fine, living on my own.  ILRCSF’s Assistive Technology program has opened a whole new world for me, and made it possible for me to keep living the life *I* want.”
–Dan (pseudonym, to protect privacy)

Kevin Saves His Home

A businessman wearing a tie sits in a wheelchair in his kitchen at home.“My husband, Joseph, and I own a small house which we worked really hard to buy. When a sudden accident resulted in a profound disability and forced me to stop working, I was really worried we wouldn’t be able to cover our monthly mortgage, and would lose our home. I’d heard so many nightmare stories about people getting turned down for SSDI, even though they were eligible. A friend told me that ILRCSF had a Legal Program which was free to people with disabilities. I met with ILRCSF’s Staff Attorney, who helped me put together my application, and informed me of how important getting medical documentation would be. She confirmed that many cases are, in fact, declined the first time out, but told me she’d be there for me, if there was a need to launch an appeal. That eased my mind, even though I was still worried about how Joseph and I were going to get by on just one salary.  As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. My application was approved and I’m now collecting SSDI benefits. Not working outside of the home, after so many years in the corporate world is definitely taking some getting used to but, thanks to the help and support I got from ILRCSF, I can breathe a sigh of relief about both my housing, and my financial stability.”
— Kevin (pseudonym, to protect privacy)

Kevin and Maria

Kevin, Maria, and their two children, were rendered homeless, after Kevin lost his job. Maria’s salary was not enough to cover their rent, and the entire family ended up living in their car. Kevin made every effort to find a job, but his disability limited the type of work he could do. It became clear to Kevin and Maria that remaining in SF was not an option, if they hoped to provide their children with a real home. Kevin located an affordable, 2 bedroom rental in Sacramento. If they made the move, Maria’s salary would be enough to cover their expenses, and the kids would have a stable home, once again. Paying for the security deposit, however, posed a problem. They felt helpless, until they came to ILRCSF, where they learned about the Season of Sharing fund. A member of ILRCSF’s staff gathered their information and presented the family’s case to the Season of Sharing Committee. The request for emergency funding was approved, the security deposit was covered, and the family was able to relocate, and make a fresh start. Maria is still working full time, Kevin is eagerly looking for work in Sacramento, and the kids are enrolled at a local school and thriving. They’ve got a home.

Mark

Ten years ago, I was in a car accident that left me paralyzed. I moved into the Laguna Honda nursing home, but I never gave up my dream of living independently. I worked with ILRCSF and other community agencies so that I could gain the skills and resources I would need for living on my own. It was a long process, but I was recently discharged, and I am now living in a subsidized apartment.

Last week, I attended a baseball game with Amber, an ILRCSF staff member and John, another ILRCSF consumer who is also paralyzed. It was a great experience, not only because I had never been to a baseball game before, but because I could share my story with John. John is also a long-time nursing home resident, and I was able to give him some information about what was helpful to me during the discharge process. I am glad that ILRCSF gave us the opportunity to meet.

Sylvia

I happen to be a wheelchair user, and I have  a very large family.  My husband and I thought it would be nice if we could take our children and grandchildren camping in Yellowstone National Park. We wanted to rent a van so that we could all drive out there together, but I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a ramp that would allow me to  board the van.

I decided to come to ILRCSF, and  Derek showed me the AT lending library. I discovered that I could rent a ramp at a very low cost.  Derek put me in touch with an access specialist, who made sure that I was given a ramp  of an appropriate length. Thanks to the ramp, I could easily get in and out of the van, and I had a wonderful vacation with my family.

Dennis

I was a professional athlete who became disabled in the middle of my career. Soon after my injury, my wife and I divorced, and I ended up homeless. I didn’t know how to apply for benefits, and I was unfamiliar with resources for people with disabilities in the Bay Area.

A friend told me About ILRCSF. During my first appointment, Bridget helped me with the wording on my SSDI application. She also helped me get funding for a security deposit for my new apartment.

I got a lot out of coming to ILRCSF.  It was a relaxed environment where I felt safe and empowered. I have decided that one day, I will give back to ILRCSF in some way.

Tom

My name is Tom, and I have quadriplegia. Before I came to ILRCSF, I thought that there weren’t that many resources in the community for people with disabilities. After coming to ILRCSF, I know that this definitely isn’t the case.

When  I met with Alicia, she gave me information about obtaining a disability placard from the Department of Motor Vehicles, and she informed me that I qualify for paratransit. She told me that I am eligible to receive a discount from PG&E as well. Since I’m in the process  of looking for housing, she encouraged me to sign up for a workshop where I would learn about my rights as a tenant with a disability. I was very relieved when Alicia gave me  some information about organizations that perform emergency wheelchair repairs, so that if my wheelchair suddenly breaks, I don’t have to worry about being stuck in my house. Alicia also uses a wheelchair, so we  compared  notes and exchanged stories.

It’s  really cool that I can work with someone who is like me! I left ILRCSF feeling empowered. It’s great to know that there are so many services for people with disabilities, and now I will be able to use them. I made another appointment to come back to ILRCSF next week; Alicia told me that there are even more programs and benefits I should know about!

Katya

I am a senior citizen who emigrated from El Salvador ten years ago and was receiving  Cash Assistance  Payments for Immigrants (CAPI).  When I first came to ILRCSF, I was very isolated, and I spent most of my time sitting on the bus.

Through peer counseling, Maria encouraged me to take the initiative and start doing things for myself. I enrolled in  English classes, and I started to feel more independent. Maria also helped me navigate the complex process of changing over my benefits from CAPI to SSI, and she referred me to an organization that provides legal assistance. I started receiving SSI,  and I secured low-income housing in a building for seniors.

ILRCSF helped me feel connected to my community, and I learned how to advocate for my needs.

Michael

When I came to ILRCSF, I was living in a shelter. I have PTSD, and it was hard for me to sleep on a noisy, chaotic  floor, surrounded by other people. When I raised these concerns with the shelter, they were not receptive and treated me badly. I explained the situation to Victoria at ILRCSF, and she wrote a letter to the staff.

When the staff at the shelter continued to refuse to take action, Victoria contacted the Mayor’s Office on Disability, and I was moved to a quieter location in the shelter. I told Victoria that I really wanted to leave the shelter, but she informed  me that  if I stayed, I would have a better chance of getting Section 8 Housing. Another ILRCSF staff member worked with me to obtain funding for a security deposit, and I was able to leave the shelter.

Working with ILRCSF was very empowering, because they provided  both advocacy and counseling and took the time to listen to me.

Anmei

My husband and I emmigrated from Beijing to San Francisco several years ago. We  have SSI, but no one explained the rules to us, so we didn’t realize that there is a $3,000 income limit for couples.  We received notices from SSI, which informed us that we had exceeded the income limit. We were told that we needed to pay the money back, and our SSI payments would be cut off.

At ILRCSF, A Chinese-speaking ILRCSF staff member told us about the resource and income limits for SSI. After we started to understand how the system works, we were advised to speak to someone at the Social Security Administration. We explained our situation to SSA, and we were able to negotiate with them so that we didn’t have to pay all the money we owed at once.

Our SSI has resumed. We are really grateful to ILRCSF because they gave us the information we needed so that we could advocate for ourselves effectively.