Larry admits his journey has been a long difficult one and says that “Without DuPagePads, I would not be here today.” On October 4, 2011, Larry moved into his own apartment after four years of being homeless. This became possible because of the caring staff at DuPagePads and their Permanent Supportive Housing Program. Larry openly shares his story.
In 2007, Larry lost his job after his employer went out of business. Larry found his way to DuPagePads and has been working with them since, although a lack of housing was not his only concern. Larry suffers from severe arthritis and neuropathy, and recently had a stroke. “My pain is progressing. My legs go numb and I just fall,” he says. Larry currently uses a cane but fears he will soon need a walker.
Larry had another setback in 2010 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “I have been going through radiation and the cancer is in remission,” Larry reports, “but my medications were so expensive, I would sometimes have to make decisions about which ones to take.”
Larry’s pain did not go unnoticed. Beth Epstein, Director of Programs at DuPagePads, became aware of Larry’s ailments. “I do not usually work with clients directly, but I had the opportunity to meet Larry and focus on his situation. It was hard to see him in so much discomfort and not being able to afford his medication. One day a light bulb went off in the back of my mind. I remembered Larry saying that he was a veteran,” Beth shares.
In the past, Larry had tried to obtain veteran benefits, but there was an error in the system regarding his status. Fortunately, DuPagePads partners with the DuPage Veterans Commission and they worked with Larry to rectify the error in the system. Because of this correction, Larry was able to receive assistance for his much needed prescription medications through a local VA Hospital, as well as utilize their psychiatrists and group sessions.
In addition to helping Larry receive the medications he needed, DuPagePads is also assisting him in obtaining social security and disability benefits. Beth states, “One of many services we provide is helping our clients get the benefits they deserve or need. This is only possible because of the many collaborative partnerships DuPagePads has established in the community.”
When asked what brings a smile to his face, Larry quickly answers, “My apartment. It has really given me something to look forward to, getting things into it. DuPagePads even got me a bed – though I didn’t have a chance to set up my bed last night, I just spread my blankets out on the floor. I really appreciate everything I have received.”