Did you know that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 2016 are $733 per month? For the majority of our residents and clients, SSI is their only income! Imagine living in the city of Chicago on a monthly income of $733.
Now imagine you are an 80 year-old woman with health issues, limited transportation, and little social support. How do you pay your bills and have enough money to fix your leaking sink or add grab bars to your bathroom? This is where H.O.M.E. comes in.
From making home repairs to providing transportation and intergenerational living for 90 people, H.O.M.E. touches the lives of thousands of the over 50,000 seniors in the city of Chicago that live in extreme poverty.
H.O.M.E. helps Chicago's low-income seniors maintain their independence by providing services unlike any organization in the City of Chicago. H.O.M.E.'s services include an upkeep and repair program to ensure seniors enjoy healthy and safe living conditions. A shopping bus assists seniors with transport to grocery stores where they have access to food and supplies that are essential to their well-being. H.O.M.E. also manages three affordable intergenerational buildings where seniors choose between private apartments or, for residents who need some assistance, Good Life Senior Residences. H.O.M.E.'s moving program offers seniors support and assistance through one of life's most stressful events-moving from one home to another.
When Marijo had surgery and was no longer able to work, she moved into a homeless shelter where she lived for just under a year. During this time she was also struggling with depression and various other health conditions. She wanted to live on her own, but she knew that she couldn't manage everything that was going on in her life without a little help. Her daughter helped her search for a place that would give Marijo the help she needed, but also a place that she could afford. That's when they found the Good Life Residences at H.O.M.E. She exclaims, "You only have to see it once and fall in love."
With a little support, Marijo gets to her doctor's' appointments when she needs check-ups, gets her medications at a nearby pharmacy, and is able to manage her Medicare and social security paperwork. Since meals are provided and Resident Assistants help clean common areas, she only has to worry about housekeeping in her own room which she says is manageable. She enjoys eating family style with other residents and says they laugh a lot, and she loves spending time with the younger residents of the building. She asks, "Do you know Ethan?" Ethan is the two-year-old who lives a few floors down from her.
Her doctors tell her that she's made a lot of progress managing her health recently, and Marijo credits her new home with helping her do that. The best part though is that because she doesn't have to worry anymore about falling behind with her health, bills, and meals, she has time to do more of what she loves best-she calls her children, the joy of her life, as often as she can. "That's why I love it here. They help me keep my things going… I can do things. I can keep up with things like my health, my family, my room. My self."
Committed to improving the quality of life for Chicago's low-income elderly, Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.) helps seniors remain independent and part of their community by offering opportunities for intergenerational living and by providing a variety of citywide support services.