Juanita was originally from El Salvador and came to the United States in the 80’s in order to take care of her sister. Unfortunately, her sister passed away some years ago, and with no job and nowhere to go, Juanita ended up homeless. Her declining health soon caught up with her as she was unable to manage her chronic knee pain, hypertension, and depression. Juanita ended up at the Downtown Women’s Center where they recognized her need for stability, and with the help of DHS, referred her to IF Recuperative Care.
When Juanita came to the Illumination Foundation Recuperative Care Program, she had nothing but a small purse and the clothes on her back. Scared but determined, she sat down with her case manager and the medical coordinators to figure out a care plan while she remained in Recuperative Care. This care plan, however, turned out to be a little more complicated than staff had anticipated.
Staff soon uncovered that her medical care was scattered throughout several clinics in Los Angeles County. Since Juanita’s full name followed the traditional naming patterns in Latin American countries (which consist of a first name, middle name, father’s last name, and mother’s last name), different medical facilities had registered her under two completely different names, as they were generally unable to accommodate this cultural difference. Because of this, continuity of care was almost impossible for her. Once staff figured this out, they sat down with her and helped her determine which facility would best accommodate her needs. Juanita established a connection with her primary care physician, and, soon after, was able to schedule a cataract surgery, which would greatly help her with her eyesight.
In addition to her complicated medical care, it was obvious that her estrangement from her family was difficult for her when she arrived at Recup. She had no means to contact or visit her daughter, which caused her a lot of sadness. Fortunately, she qualified for programs that would help with these issues. Her case manager managed to successfully connect her to transportation services for disabled persons. She also obtained a new cell phone, which allowed her to contact her family more frequently.
A crucial step for Juanita was determining her residence status in the US. She and her case manager tackled the issues surrounding this, which she was unclear about. She and her case manager managed to contact the legal aid agency that had helped her a few years back. The workers explained that Juanita was eligible to be a permanent resident, but she needed to establish proof that she had been in the U.S for more than a decade in order to submit the application.
This process took time, but Juanita stood determined as she knew this would be a major step in obtaining crucial services. With the help of connections at medical facilities, her case manager was able to obtain the majority of the evidence needed. However, the process has not been completed. During this time, Juanita was assigned an Intensive Case Management Services Provider through the Housing for Health Program in LA County. The case manager from this agency collaborated with her case manager at Illumination Foundation to help place her into permanent housing.
After patiently waiting for nine months, Juanita was finally placed into an SRO unit in Downtown Los Angeles. Because Juanita moved out before she could obtain all the evidence needed for her permanent residency, the process is being continued by her long-term case manager, who followed her after she was placed in permanent housing. Her move into her beautiful new home will always be representative of what can come from a successful partnering between different agencies.