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Grant To Help Single Divorced Man With AIDS Build Animal Rescue Shelter

by Miles Llorente
(Frazier Park, CA, USA)

I am 56-year-old divorced man living alone. I have a daughter who is now married with two kids of her own, living in Switzerland with her husband. Last time I saw her and my grandchildren was two years ago.

I was in the Air Force when she was born. I studied architecture in college. I used to live in the city closer to my doctor and had close friends

As rents became higher, I had to move farther away from everything. All my friends have passed away. I no longer have family or friends to rely on for support.

Disability Issues

In November 1993 I became very sick and went to the emergency room at the Veterans Administration. At first they thought I had spinal meningitis, but after several weeks in the hospital, it became clear that I had been infected with HIV.

I had no CD4 cell count, and was immediately placed on AZT. I was then prescribed DDI and 3TC. The drugs crippled me with peripheral neuropathy, and I was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS.

It has severely affected my feet, legs and hands. Extremely painful, it is difficult to walk and to do day-to-day tasks like cooking, getting dressed. It's almost impossible for me to button a shirt.

Many times I think I am holding a glass or cup of coffee well, only to drop it and break it.

I take opium-based pain medications, Oxycontin and Oxycodone, for pain management. It affects my thinking and memory. I forget to turn off the stove or iron, which is not safe.

My immune system has become so destroyed that I am always sick. I have chronic bronchitis, which often turns into pneumonia. I take medication for HIV and pain. I use an inhaler daily for my lungs.

Financial Hardship

When I was forced to leave my career and take my Social Security, I was penalized for it because of the way it is determined from your work history. If I had been able to work until retirement, my benefits would be more.

I receive other benefits through my Medicare, but because the government says they are broke, every year they take a little away, I get less and less each year while the costs increase for gas, utilities, required insurance for my car and rent.

It makes it impossible to live independently. I am always stressed over the fact that I fear losing my home and having no place to live.

I live an hour from Valencia and Bakersfield where there are stores for shopping, which takes more gas to get there and seeing the doctor and dentist.

There is no public transportation to get me to Valencia where I do grocery shopping, and see my doctor. My HIV doctor was in Pasadena. I go to UCLA for dental care.

I get $1,073 a month. My rent is $800. Utilities are another $200, which includes electricity, gas, water and phone.

I get just over $100 per month on my EBT card for food. There used to be a food bank through one of the churches here, but it is no longer here.

Many times in the last week of each month I go without food.

Income Efforts

I moved here in 2005. I have gone around to all the places to ask for work. I could work part-time.

I have good days that I feel healthy enough to be able to work to help supplement my Social Security. I am more than qualified. I have 20 years experience in retail management and customer service.

In the five years of living here, and applying for work every few months, I witness them hiring young people, but they won't give me the opportunity to work.

One guy wouldn't even look at my resume, or take the time to allow me to give him my name and talk about my experience and that I would be a good employee and valuable asset to him.

I was forced to move far from where I was close to friends and services, but because I could no longer afford the rents, I had to move farther and farther away.

Now the owner of the home I rent is going to let the house go into foreclosure, leaving me with nothing, because there is nothing here comparable or affordable. I don't know where I will live.

It's a very small mountain community of less than 2,000 people. I don't know anyone here. I have become a recluse since living here.

I have tried to get on a housing program for lower rent, but I am always told there aren't any programs available, and if I ask about a waiting list, I am told there isn't one.

My daughter lives in Switzerland, and I would never impose on her and her family. It's hard enough being young and trying to make ends meet. I would never dream of it.

I do not have any other family I can ask for help. When I came out, and got AIDS, they abandoned me.

Specific Needs

I have written to my state representative and my state senator describing my hardship. Because of my limited benefits, I was forced to leave my career early in my adult life and not able to work to the age of retirement.

I lost 14 friends to AIDS who will never see their social security. Millions of men have died from AIDS. The government will never have to pay out benefits to those men, yet they tell us that Social Security is broke, and one can not even get enough for basic independent living.

We are forced to live in fear, have stress on our health, which doesn't help us fight the health issues that caused us to become disabled.

I am also a veteran. I want those we elect into office who are supposed to be there for the people, and protect those who can't defend for themselves. They really should be ashamed for allowing us to be forced into the slavery of poverty.

I hope to get a grant since I can't find any other benefits to qualify for. Now that I think about it, when my Social Security was assessed, my time in the Air Force was not taken into consideration.

It's difficult for most to qualify for benefits. I have witnessed seniors cooking on a camp stove in their home because they don't get enough of combined Social Security to pay the utility bill to cook on the stove.

The government has not done a good job at protecting our seniors, the mentally ill which many are living on the streets and homeless, and the disabled like myself.

There are many foreclosures here. I would like to buy a home. They are affordable. Being able to buy one of them would be less than what current rentals are.

I would like to be able to qualify for a home, so that I could have security and no longer fear of not having a place to live.

Business Idea

For the past 15 years, I have volunteered much work with dog rescues. Three million dogs are euthanized annually because they were not adopted and room was needed for more dogs.

Many keep getting back into the shelters because people don't understand, or take the time to give the dog basic obedience, and help them overcome the problems that they developed through abuse, abandonment and/or neglect.

Where I live, most of the community is agriculture. There are ranches and farms near my home. Since the bad economy and foreclosures, people easily give up their pets, which also adds to the many dogs becoming abandoned.

I try and find dogs that are scheduled to be euthanized, rehabilitate them, give them some basic obedience training and find them a loving home environment.

I have solutions that solve many of the current problems that exist in rescuing dogs, and keeping them from returning into the shelter system.

I would like to train those that have the ability to serve the blind and disabled. We do not have a veterinarian here in my local community, and we do not have a dog park. Both are essential for their health and socialization.

I cannot find work here, and families are leaving and purchasing homes here because there are no jobs. I want to build a non-profit, no-kill rescue sanctuary here.

There are 20-acre parcels on the market that would make an excellent location for it, and allow me to build an adoption center, training center, veterinarian services and public dog park.

I would rescue horses and other domestic animals. I wouldn't turn away any animal needing shelter.

I incorporated Heavenly Hounds Rescue Foundation, Inc. in 2010, with the plans to build the compound and create jobs here. I have my 501(c)3 application filled out, but I can't afford the IRS application fee of $850, so my dream of building the rescue is on hold.

I write documents as often as I can to help others know how to overcome problems that are common when adopting a dog from the shelter. The documents are for when I can afford to put together the web site.

You can Google or go to Facebook. I created a page there that gives the mission and vision description of what I want to accomplish. It's called Heavenly Hounds Rescue Foundation, Inc.

It will be dedicated to becoming a model for future rescues on how dogs are matched to people and their lifestyle and home environment.

It would work with horses too. I grew up on a small family farm before my parents divorced, milking cows and riding horses, and that passion and love for animals, especially dogs and horses has been with me since childhood.

I want to do something that will help the more than three million dogs being euthanized yearly here in the U.S. I know that my desire to help them will in return help me and my community.

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Sep 14, 2013
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Hi Miles
by: sherri from Vacaville CA

Hi Miles,

You are so lucky to be alive. My uncle died three years ago of AIDS. He got diagnosed in May of HIV and died August 31 2010 of AIDS. His CD4 count was 12. I am also disabled and took care of him. I think the AIDS meds were making him better. But he lost so much weight. He was 90 lb. Hopefully someday there will be a cure for this horrible disease.

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