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Disabled Man Seeks Grant Money To Build Own Home And Business

by Lanford D.
(Mountain View, Hawaii, USA)

My name is Lanford. I have had disabling health problems off and on since 1999. Because my health issues came and went, I could never qualify for SSI.

This meant that in between episodes of poor health, I had to struggle to work and save up enough money to support myself during the next episode of disabling illness.

I lost 15 jobs between 1999 and 2010 due to long-term illness. I often had to work odd jobs for individuals because not many employers wanted to hire a person like me with a history of chronic absenteeism.

Disabling illnesses would strike 10 times a year on average. The duration would last from a couple of weeks to many months making it impossible to hold on to any decent employment.

Eventually, I'd recover and have to find a new job until the next episode of illness. As the years passed and I have become middle aged, it is harder for me to find work between illnesses.

In 2006, because I was too ill to work and could not pay the rent, I lost my home that I had rented for 11 years.

I became temporarily homeless and lived on the street for a few weeks while eating out of trash cans. It was very humiliating.

My illness then subsided and I became well enough to find temporary work out of state. I remained healthy for two years and when this temp job ended, I returned to my home state and found a job as a grocery bagger in a supermarket.

By now I was 48 years old and not as energetic as I once was. But I endured and pushed myself to be a good worker.

Unfortunately, about three months later, I lost this job when my illness returned and this time with a vengeance.

I lost my apartment and had to break my lease on it. A friend from out state heard of my situation and offered me a place to stay so I would not end up on the street again or have to eat from trashcans.

Unlike past episodes, which kept me out of work for weeks or months, this episode is now entering its second year.

I have been unable to work now for two years. It is by far the worst experience I have ever had.

Only in the last month has my illness subsided a little. I have been on countless medications, some of which I developed a resistance to. My medications often make me feel worse than my illness does.

Aware of my medical history, my new physician and an attorney have pointed out to me that I am indeed disabled as defined by law.

With this information, I challenged Social Security's denial of my benefits and this time my case was given to a judge who determined that I was indeed disabled.

I will now get SSI. However, the amount I will be getting is only $200 more than the local county general assistance that I get, which is $300 a month.

I have been giving to my landlord that $300 a month for housing me the last two years. My landlord recently raised the rent to $400 and Catholic Charities has been assisting me with some of it.

What little money I manage to hold on to goes for non-grocery items and gasoline. My county General Assistance and the assistance from Catholic Charities will end now that I start getting SSI in August of 2010. That monthly income will only be around $500.

I have lived in absolute poverty since 1999 because of chronic periodic illness. There is no absolute cure for my illness and my life expectancy is uncertain.

But there is a ray of hope in all of this. My landlord has made me an offer that would make it possible for me to make a dream come true.

He has told me that he will allow me to build my own home on a section of his property. This home would be legally mine and papers would be drawn up to make it so.

The home must be built in such a way that it can be easily dismantled should I choose to move from the property. This home would be sold in the event of my death or I can will it to someone who would remove it from the landlord's property.

I have spent the last 11 years struggling with health issues. I have become homeless two times. I gave up the hope of ever having my own home.

Prior to 1999, I was an experienced carpenter. Between illnesses, I sometimes did small carpentry jobs. I know how to build a home to code.

I also have artistic abilities. With enough money, I could buy the equipment and supplies I need to supplement my income from my arts and crafts.

I haven't had much to be hopeful about in the last 11 years. But with my landlord's offer, I could finally make my dream come true and own my own home and be able to start my own business.

Working for myself would make it easier when illness strikes again. Building my own home would give me a future to look forward to.

My therapist has told me that it is quite possible that building/having my own home and working for my self would have a positive effect on my well being and maybe make it easier for me to endure future illness.

Because of financial and health related instability, I have avoided human intimacy and have not pursued any close relationships with anyone. Who wants to date someone who could possibly drop dead unexpectedly?

But with something positive to look forward to, I am more likely able to start having some decent happiness in my life and make room for someone special to be a part of my life. At least I would have someone to pass the house on to if I should die.

My home would only be a small home at less than 700 square feet. I have already designed it on paper. My home business would be creating pottery, stained glass and other crafts.

So, is there some way I could get help to make this dream of mine come true? All my medical history and my story itself are verifiable.

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