Carmen and Johnny

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.”

Share this Story

Leave a Comment