Please Help--Homeless Brother has Congestive Heart Failure
Organized by: Suzanne Dobbins
My brother, Steve Stevens, was just diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure at age 51. He has been homeless for 6 years. This is his story.
Steve was born on the 4th of July, a beautiful baby, happy and kind, with a gentle soul. His early childhood was bright, full of fun and love. When he started school, he struggled with learning, but it wasn't until 9th grade that he was diagnosed as Dyslexic. Needless to say, for most of his childhood he felt 'less than'. He was teased and bullied, called 'stupid' and put in classes with the 'slower' kids. But he never complained or felt sorry for himself. He just went about his business.
Midway through his junior year he ended up dropping out, getting his GED, and joining the Air Force. Steve had started drinking alcohol some in high school, but it was while he was stationed at George AFB that it seemed to grab hold of him and sink its claws in deep. He was given a General Discharge after 14 months.
For the next 20 or so years, Steve drifted from job to job and home to home, rarely able to keep a job or an apartment for any length of time. He lived with each of his 4 siblings off and on, and our mother, and he spent a lot of time sleeping on friend's couches. During this time we all tried to help him, and he tried to accept the help, but it never quite worked out.
He did stop drinking once, for three years, about 10 years ago. But he still couldn't function enough to keep a job or a place to live. He started drinking again, and very quickly fell into homelessness, sleeping under bridges with other 'lost souls'.
Pretty soon those other souls became his family, and he embraced the homeless life with gusto. It suited him to live with that kind of freedom, no bills, no schedule, and zero responsibilities. He was unapologetic about his choice, and honest about who and what he is. He kept in touch with us, off and on, as best he could, so that we knew he was still alive.
My brother called me 3 weeks ago from Denver Health Medical Center. He said "Sue, I've got some bad news. I have Congestive Heart Failure." They discharged him the next day, with a voucher to stay at a VOA motel for 1 week. He applied for an extension but was turned down.
I couldn't allow my brother to go back out on the streets in his condition, so I took him into my home (I'm the only family left in Colorado). He hasn't had any alcohol since he went into the hospital, and he understands that he will have to leave my home if he starts again. He told me that he wants to live, and he is 'retiring from being homeless'.
Here's my problem: we are working toward getting Steve services such as food stamps, SSDI, etc. (he's already on Medicaid), but we have discovered that this process could take several months. In the meantime, I need some help with his groceries, toiletries, bus passes for his doctor appointments, clothing, and the increase in my utilities (He's having trouble sleeping, and sometimes is up for hours in the night). I have a full time job, but I just can't afford to support someone else.
I feel like, after 30 years, I have my brother back. Any donations to help me help him will be greatly appreciated, and we both thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Please repost this to get the word out!