Client News

Each month we feature a news article of the work we did for a local community member.

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Racing Against Time

February 2011

Bruce Dawson returned from the hospital at 5:30 in the morning to find his motel room door open, belongings scattered, and the shower door in pieces. After waiting all night at the hospital while his caregiver was undergoing treatment, Dawson was exhausted, and struggling without the assistance of his helper.

He navigated his wheelchair to the telephone and called the police. An officer took a report and left.

"Later that morning, the manager of the motel called and told me I had to leave in two hours. He blamed me for the broken shower door," says Dawson.

Dawson, a disabled Marine Corps veteran, had already paid ahead for several nights, leaving him without enough cash to pay in advance for another motel.

"I'm on disability. I get my check on the first of the month. I was moving from Long Beach to Medford at the time and looking for a more permanent place to live," Dawson explains.

Desperate, Dawson called the Oregon Disability Services Office, and they referred him to Help Now!

After talking to the motel manager and getting nowhere, Help Now! Executive Director Larry Kahn asked the police to return to the motel to reassess the situation. After the second officer looked things over and spoke to Dawson, the officer took the motel manager aside to speak to him. When Kahn again called the manager following the manager's talk with the officer, Kahn found an entirely different attitude. The manager agreed to refund Dawson's unused payment and allowed Dawson to stay until the afternoon to give time to find a place and move.

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Breaking the Impasse And More

January 2011

There was mold on the carpet and in the bathroom. The heater went out after the weather turned cold, and the monthly bill for the emergency heat cost almost as much as the rent. Christina Kewley was tired of waiting for the management company to make repairs, so she withheld the rent.

Commercial Property Management (who managed the house for the owner) held firm in its position. The tenants didn't pay up so they would have to be evicted. Repairs would be made, but only after the rent was brought current.

"The mold is a health hazard, and I have a baby and a toddler. I can't afford to wait for them to fix the heat. What else could I have done?" asks Kewley.

A court mediation failed so an eviction hearing was just a few days away. It appeared that Kewley would lose her home of four years, one in which she had invested quite a bit of her own money to make the home more livable.

Her roommate knew Ray Garcia, a board member at Help Now!, and described the situation to him. He suggested that Kewley call Help Now!

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Consider the Source

December 2010

The letter threatened Maria Cortez with a $10,000 lawsuit unless she called immediately to pay the company a lesser amount in settlement. Scams can come from any direction, so a successful advocate must always be on guard.

Help Now! advocate Jolie Wilson became suspicious when she read the letter addressed to client Maria Cortez. The letter came from a Colorado-based company called Secure Signals, Inc. The letter said the local cable company, Charter Communications, had detected that Cortez had been pirating additional cable service. The letter threatened to sue Cortez for $10,000 dollars unless she called the company immediately and reached a settlement to pay them a lesser amount.

Cortez was frightened, and came to Help Now! for assistance after being referred by a community leader.

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The Multiplier Effect

November 2010

Selena Toledo was forced to stay home from work when her babysitter didn't show. It cost her that job. With no income or child support, the single mother of four could hear the clock ticking. 

Like many other single mothers, Selena Toledo was forced to stay home from work when her babysitter didn't show. This unfortunately happened one too many times for her employer, and she lost her job as a result. With no income or child support, the single mother of four could hear the clock ticking.

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Helping Little Carlos

October 2010

Jennifer Carter never dreamed she'd be giving round-the-clock care to her healthy and happy six year-old son, Carlos.  But after he choked on a hot dog last August and suffered severe brain damage, she needed all the help she could get. 

In order to provide Carlos the care he needed, she had to go on unpaid leave from her job at Wal*Mart losing the source of income by which she, as a single parent, had supported herself and her four children.

A referral from the local United Way brought Jennifer to Help Now! for assistance.

"Jennifer needed help for Carlos on so many issues, we had to prioritize them," says Help Now! Executive Director Larry Kahn.

One of the first things Help Now! did for Jennifer was to persuade the Medford Mail Tribune that Jennifer's family situation was newsworthy and could attract support from the local community.

As a result of Help Now!'s contact, a front page article appeared in the September 27 Mail Tribune:

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Burned Out But Back On Track

February 2010

Read about this story in the Feb 4, 2010 Mail Tribune here.

Howard Boyd was shaken awake at 1:30 a.m. last October by his 15 year-old son.

"Dad, I think there's a fire," said the teenager.

When he pulled off the oxygen mask he uses to help him sleep, Howard fumbled with his cane and shuffled into his apartment's front room . The electric baseboard heater was on fire.

"I tried to smother the flames with a blanket. I didn't know at first that the flames were inside the wall," Boyd said.

As the flames spread, the pair barely had time to dress and get out. Boyd's son grabbed their laptop computer. Everything else they owned was gone.