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Grant Needed For Recovering Agoraphobic To Realize Homeownership Dream

by Michelle
(Reading, Pennsylvania, USA)

My name is Michelle. I am a female, aged 38. I am not married, nor do I have any children.

Except for my "critter companions" I live by myself and in the same city I grew up in.

I was an elementary education major and then switched to psychology. I always wanted to have a career where I helped others.

I really enjoy academic things -- I like to read, and I like to educate myself through television and radio programs.

I am a big science enthusiast, or as I like to call myself "a science geek." If you call me a geek, that is the ultimate compliment.

I enjoy baseball, which you can find me watching regularly. I also have an appreciation for older things -- TV programs, our history, and things of yesteryear.

Disability Issues

I began to have panic attacks in the fall of 1996, when I was in college. I noticed that I was getting a few within a year, but they really started to escalate quickly.

I tried to continue in college, but it was getting harder and harder to attend classes. By early 1998, I entered into a period where I was housebound for six months.

I was able to bounce back from that, and then went back and forth between getting out and really taking a step back in 2001. I have been really struggling since that time.

I am able to visit some of my family members, be a passenger in a car and go a certain distance. It is very hard for me to go into public.

I can usually only enter places if they are relatively deserted, have a side entrance, and if I do not have to walk far. During all of this, my anxiety turned to my inside living as well.

For the moment, I am on a "better" trend, and I do hope to recover some day. But, it is extremely difficult for me to leave my home.

Financial Hardship

Right now, I live on a fixed income. So, everything is a hardship. What is making things worse is that I lost my job that I was doing from home. So, I lost even more income.

That caused me to lose my state insurance, which was paying for the majority of my services that I was receiving. I was having to pay a relatively large amount for my healthcare even before that.

I have a therapist that specializes in my condition, but I was having to self-pay. I cannot not afford that much with my current finances.

With regards to my housing situation, I am unable to do any large things that need attention. Generally speaking, you will need at least a thousand dollars for any household repair, and I just do not have those resources.

Earning Efforts

I receive SSDI and unemployment compensation currently. I am registered with my local OVR (Office of Vocational Rehabilitation) office to find a new job.

My church that I am affiliated with is relatively large and does not generally help people with individual assistance.

Specific Needs

Right now, I am looking for some sort of loan or grant that would allow me to purchase the home I was living in, and more importantly, to do the repairs necessary to have it be up-to-date, and functioning.

The house needs electrical work, and repairs to the ceiling, new drywall, etc. There are a lot of cosmetic things to do, including new walls, new carpeting.

I really would like to live in this home.

The only other option for me is to move into public housing, where I would have to lose my companions. But, in the long run, home ownership is beneficial for me for numerous reasons.

It would allow me to live in a place where I would not have to lose my companions. It would give me the space I need to live comfortably and thrive.

I have exhausted all other resources. Everything is a catch-22. If I apply for a loan, they are asking for collateral, which I do not have in the form of a home.

I need to be able to own a home in order to do those things.

I have approached the local charitable housing organizations here and I do not fit their criteria.

I really need some sort of loan or grant that would allow me to do the repairs needed to live in that home.

This is truly my desire, to become a homeowner, have a sense of true pride in my home and continue on the path to recovery.

I am willing to do whatever it takes, and I am willing to pay it forward in order to achieve my dream. I feel that if I were to benefit from the assistance of others, I will make sure that I do the same thing.

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Aug 22, 2013
Getting out!
by: Ken

Hi Michelle,

I hope things are going better. My wife has anorexia, ABI, OCD and agoraphobia, so I kind of know what you are up against. It is a long hard road. I have found that one of the biggest problems is agoraphobia. She had to get out! She still has her setbacks, but with her meds, I can coax her out of the house. She likes grocery shopping. That works. Then I will take a couple of detours. I know that you stay with your "critters" but even by yourself if you do something you like and try to take some "detours" you may feel better about getting out. I found this statement from the Mayo Clinic, you may have heard it all before, but I thought I would pass it along, hope it might help
An anti-anxiety medication. Also called benzodiazepines, these drugs can help control symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks. However, these medications can cause dependence if taken in doses larger than prescribed or over a longer period of time than prescribed. Your doctor will weigh this risk against the potential benefit of this class of drugs. Drugs in this category that are FDA-approved for the treatment of panic disorder with agoraphobia include alprazolam (Xanax) and clonazepam (Klonopin).

Both starting and ending a course of antidepressants can cause side effects that seem just like a panic attack. For this reason, your doctor likely will gradually increase your dose at the beginning of your treatment, and slowly decrease your dose when he or she feels you're ready to stop taking medication -- often over the course of a year or more after your agoraphobia symptoms are controlled.
All the best,

Aug 21, 2013
Understanding your problem
by: Peggy

I have a 35-year-old son who also suffers from this condition. Social Anxiety is a very serious condition that few people understand. I know there are days when he cannot get out of the house for any reason if it means being around a lot of people. I wish you luck in your search for help so you do not have to give up your critters.

Sep 14, 2012
My Prayers
by: Anonymous

I'm wishing you the best of luck, and my prayers are with you. I would hate to see you lose the critters that you love. They are your best therapy I'm sure. I hope Ken's lead turns into something for you.

Dottie C.

Sep 14, 2012
Pent-up in Pennsylvania
by: Ken

Hi Michelle,

Yes, it is a catch-22 for sure. Perhaps you may find some help at this site:


There is quite a bit of information. I think it will be very hard to find any straight out grants. If you can find one, bite into it and don't let go. Don't give up, keep working on it!!

Good Luck,

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