How Can You Help?
Even though homelessness can be a daunting and overwhelming experience, there is hope. TCHC and its member agencies are working hard to end homelessness and restore a sense of stability back into every client that experiences homelessness in Tarrant and Parker Counties. Here are success stories from clients who received dental services when TCHC partnered with JPS.
With a bachelor’s degree in sales and 25 years of experience, Craig Barner lost his job when his mother became ill, and he stayed home to care for her. Without a job, Craig struggled to make house and medical payments. Eventually, Craig found himself with no option but to put his mother in an assisted living facility, give up his house, and turn to living in the streets. During this time, Craig had already started to lose his teeth. When Craig found a place to stay and work within the Union Gospel Mission he only had 12 teeth left.
Upon scheduling a dental appointment with JPS, Craig discovered he had periodontitis, something that had it been caught earlier would have prevented him from losing his teeth. Through JPS, Craig heard about the dental assistance provided by the TCHC through the Direct Client Services Fund. After working with a case manager, Craig applied for funding available for dentures. After eight months, and many dental appointments, Craig has now been fitted and is waiting for his dentures to arrive.
“In sales, a smile is everything. Once I have my dentures, I will have the confidence to be able to work directly with people again.”
In his youth, Peter Gray was a frequent user of drugs. Despite not using for many years, the effect of the drugs took a permanent toll on his teeth. While working with his case manager, Peter heard about the dental services fund provided by TCHC. Looking to restore confidence in his life, Peter applied for the funding. After only eight weeks of dental appointments, Peter now has a full, proud smile.
“It changed my looks completely. I can smile now and talk without being self-conscious.”
With two sons, a husband of 24 years, and citizenship in three different countries, Heather Rahmine never could have predicted how much her life would change in the passing of one moment. After spending months in a coma from a car accident in Algeria, Heather woke up to find that all of her teeth had been pulled from her mouth due to an infection caused by the wreck. As a result, Heather fought with depression for six months. It was not until her youngest son came up to her with a set of plastic vampire teeth and said “See Mommy, you can be happy again,” that Heather realized the impact the accident had on all of her family.
Four months ago, Heather flew to the United States to work on getting her family citizenship. Living without her family proved difficult, and Heather quickly found herself homeless. With the help of her case manager, Heather heard about the denture funding provided by TCHC. No longer than a month later, Heather received her new dentures, and has a renewed sense of hope for what the future holds.
“Life is much different now. I can smile and not feel insecure. I thank God for my dentures every day.”
Starting Over: A Client’s Perspective
In October 2008, I left a very abusive relationship. I decided I wanted out and packed a car full and my cat and drove away, never to look back. One thing I did not do was make a plan. I ended up in Fort Worth. The first night and many more was spent in my temporary home; my car.
The first week was scary, hopeless, but somewhere in me I was determined. I immediately started looking for a job. At night I had a place to park and sleep. Before long I had police checking on me. I met a lady officer who told me about the Day Resource Center for the homeless. When I went in it was late but that is where I met Ruthie; a guardian angel. She told me about some of the resources they offered but it was closing time so she said to come back tomorrow. But before I left I noticed the showers and asked about them and I knew there was hope. That night I told my cat that we had some options. I knew that this was the right plan and thank God that I found it.
The next day I took my first shower in awhile. The things you take for granted. Anyway I met Ruthie at the front desk and got an appointment with my caseworker, Jessica Grace. This is my other guardian angel. She was the one I knew I had to open up with, so I did. I could tell she cared for real. She got me a TB Scan Card so I could get hot meals and some place to get clothes and a blanket.
The next day I landed a job. As time went on Jessica informed me of a housing program called transitional housing. So I said sign me up. I worked hard and kept receiving blessings. I got a brand new pair of work shoes and a sleeping bag. All this time, the elements outside were getting to me and my cat.
But when I did not know how much more I could take, I got the news of my approval for housing. I began to look for a place and was soon signing my lease. None of this would have happened had it not been for the DRC. My first night was awesome. I noticed every little detail of my apartment.
This story has been unbelievable. I have been in my apartment since February 2009. I have faced some hurdles and the person who writes this today is not the same person who entered the DRC back in 2008. I used to believe that I was not beautiful, worth anything, useful, or worth being a person who deserves respect. But now I am a person who walks with her head high because I am all those things. I have found myself with all the help of the DRC and their staff.
P.S. I will never forget where I have come from either.
Day Resource Center for the Homeless
Redemption: A Case Manager’s Perspective
A story that I would like to share is about a single mother and her daughter. When I picked this client up on my housing assistance program, my client had lost her daughter to the grandparents due to her drug usage and mental state. Afterwards, my client entered treatment successfully and is now 3 years clean. After returning from treatment, I was able to get her into a one-bedroom apartment. While in this apartment she worked on getting her daughter back from the grandparents.
Unfortunately, the grandparents had decided that they couldn’t handle the granddaughter any longer and they placed her in a home for girls in Itasca, Texas. While the daughter was there my client worked on getting an attorney to get back full custody of her daughter. She worked diligently in showing the girls home as well as the attorney and I, that she could raise her daughter the right way this time. Furthermore, we went to court and the judge awarded her full custody. It was the best day of my life to see just how far and just how much my client did to get what she wanted most in life, and that was her daughter back.
After that ruling from the court, we then moved her into a two-bedroom apartment. My client and her daughter lived there for another year until just recently I assisted them in moving into a two-bedroom house off Hulen and within walking distance of Arlington Heights High School, where my client’s daughter will attend next year. In addition, my client has the option from this family to buy this home if she would like to. During all this my client also graduated from a local beauty school and is now doing hair at an upscale salon here in Fort Worth. I have seen my client at her worse and now at her best.
I believe that if it wasn’t for the compassion, understanding, and dedication of case workers, some people would fall through the cracks and just be lost in the system with no help and no way out.
Tarrant County Samaritan Housing (Samaritan House)