On a cool September day Walter entered into DCIL, homeless. He had been referred to us by Social Security for our Representative Payee Services. Walter had been living at Ruth Meier’s Drop in Center and was looking for housing. He had no transportation. This once very hardworking, intelligent man was now walking a different road in life; an unexpected road caused by some disabilities he had acquired.
One of the first services he received from DCIL was assistance with filling out a Transit application.
Walter, a pleasant, single man, stated that he was motivated to acquire housing and a job. He chose to be a consumer at DCIL and agreed to work towards the goals that he would set for himself.
In the course of the 8 years that he was a consumer at DCIL, of the 16 goals that Walter set for himself, he completed all of them very successfully. Community based living, transportation, personal resource management, self-advocacy, self-care and learning new technology were a few of the goals he had set and he was always willing to work diligently towards completing those goals. Walter has a strong work ethic and started his independence by working for Command Center. There were struggles, there were challenges, and Walter worked diligently to overcome those by self-determination. Walters’s successes were many, but he understood that this was all a process. As he grew to become more and more independent, he always wanted to work as much as possible according the rules set up by SSI.
He was able to move into the Lewis and Clark Building in Mandan where he lived for 8 years as he was rebuilding his life. He was always very grateful for the assistance. He was determined. He received assistance from West Central Human Services in Bismarck and Community Action helped him with Shelter Plus Care.
His advocate at DCIL wondered about his family. Walter stated he had a sister residing in Hollywood, CA. The advocate located her on Social Media and after 10 years, Walter was reunited with his sister, elderly mother and family.
While he was in ND, thanks to Medicaid Benefits, he was able to communicate his physical impairments and receive the medical help that he needed, including getting on a vitamin regiment. While enjoying the newfound health, being determined, he gave up smoking.
Through weekly communication with his sister, he has decided to move to Ohio and be there for his family.
Walter, always the optimist, once stated when asked what it felt like to be homeless, “How can I be homeless, when I have the sky above me, and the earth below me?” While visiting with Walter the week before he moved, we asked him, “Where do you see your life going from here? What goals do you have before you?” Walter stated, “I’ve done it before, I’ve done it before, I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again.” Walter, good luck with the rest of your journey we call life.