A catastrophic health event can lead to months of medical care and unexpected expenses. When rental arrears are the result, The Bridge Fund can help our clients, like Carmen and Johnny, on the road to financial recovery.
Carmen Swift and Johnny Day have lived in Manhattan for 23 years. Carmen, age 59, works for the Board of Elections, and Johnny, 64, is a retired New York City transit worker. Because their apartment is rent-stabilized, they could afford the monthly rent of $1,050. Then, two years ago, Johnny had a massive stroke.
“It happened on Father’s Day, and the stroke was a very bad one,” Carmen said. “For the first 90 days, Medicare paid for his nursing home care. When Medicare benefits ran out, the nursing home took Johnny’s monthly pension and Social Security Disability benefits, which totaled about $2,600, to pay for his care. My only income was my paycheck of $900 every two weeks. It just wasn’t enough, and it didn’t take long to get seriously behind in the rent.”
After a year in the nursing home, Johnny came home, but the couple was facing eviction in Housing Court. Without access to his pension and benefits, the couple had accumulated nine months of rental arrears. Carmen’s union president sent her to The Bridge Fund.
The Bridge Fund secured $6,450 in financial assistance from the Human Resources Administration, and then contributed $2,500 as an interest-free loan. Johnny and Carmen paid $2,000 to bring the outstanding balance down to zero. Now that Johnny is again receiving his pension and Social Security benefits, their ability to pay the rent going forward is assured.
Although he is still impaired and needs physical, occupational and speech therapy, the couple is secure in their housing and can concentrate on recovery.
“One bad thing happens to you and the whole world seems to fall apart,” Carmen said. “Thank God for The Bridge Fund that was there to help us keep our home.”