A Life Transformed: Lost Hope Regained

One day in the summer of 2014, Mr. Hill woke up in a hospital bed. He was unable to speak clearly and couldn’t remember anything from the previous two weeks.
He soon learned that he had suffered a stroke and had diabetes.
The news came as a devastating blow. Four years of unemployment had left him destitute and homeless. At one point he was so ashamed of himself that he didn’t want his own children to see him. But, three weeks before the stroke, he had finally found a job and even received his first raise. Now that job – and the possibilities it created for him – were gone. “I was ready to give up,” said Mr. Hill.
After stays in different nursing homes, Mr. Hill came to Joseph’s Home. His mobility and speech improved to the point that he no longer needed a cane to get around and could speak with minimal slurring. With the help of Staff Nurse Sister Sandy LoPorto, SSJ-TOSF, he got his blood sugar under control and eliminated his dependence on insulin. He reconnected with his children and started making plans to be involved in their lives. Plus, he found an apartment of his own.

In June, nearly a year after his stroke, Mr. Hill moved into that apartment. Thanks to the many friends and supporters of Joseph’s Home, his health is greatly improved. And he knows that he will never have to call the streets home again.

Mr. Hill recovered from a stroke, stabilized his diabetes and reconnected with his children while at Joseph’s Home

A Life Transformed: Mr. Baker

Mr. Peterson
At Joseph’s Home, Mr. Baker found the help he needed to maintain his sobriety, stabilize his health and find permanent housing that meets his medical needs

When U.S. Army veteran Mr. Baker decided to get help for his addiction to drugs and alcohol, he knew it would be hard.

What he didn’t know was that the substances he’d been abusing for years had been masking symptoms of multiple physical and psychological ailments, including congestive heart failure, COPD, PTSD, depression and rheumatoid arthritis. “I didn’t know how sick I was until I got cleaned up,” said Mr. Baker.

Through the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, he received the medical, psychiatric and behavioral treatments he needed to start getting his life back on track. Too medically fragile to transition to independence, he came to Joseph’s Home when his time in the VA’s recovery program ended.

He participated in programming at Joseph’s Home, such as life-skill classes and Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings. He achieved his one-year sobriety anniversary while at Joseph’s Home. Staff Nurse Sister Sandy LoPorto, SSJ-TOSF, taught him to properly manage his many prescriptions. And Housing Locator Erica Fellows helped him find a permanent housing arrangement that includes a low level of medical supervision, which he was able to afford with the help of the VA Aide and Attendance program. He moved into his new home in May.

“The Joseph’s Home staff is wonderful. I don’t think I could have made it without their help to do the things I needed to do,” said Mr. Baker.

A Life Transformed: Mr. Peterson

Mr. Peterson
Mr. Peterson is thrilled to have safe, permanent housing

When he arrived at Joseph’s Home in August 2013, Mr. Peterson sensed that his life was about to change for the better. “I felt safe,” he said. “I got a room. I can put my stuff there and it will still be there.”

Not long before, safety had been an issue for Mr. Peterson. He lost nearly all his vision to glaucoma in late 2012 and could no longer support himself as a grill/prep cook. By June 2013, he was in a Cleveland homeless shelter, where he was an easy target for bullies and thieves, who took his glasses, shoes and medication.

The shelter referred Mr. Peterson to Joseph’s Home, where the case management and nursing staff helped him get optical care and find suitable permanent housing. He also completed an eight-week class at the Cleveland Sight Center, which taught him to live independently with severe vision impairment.

Mr. Peterson graduated from Joseph’s Home and moved into his new apartment just before the New Year. Continuity of Care Specialist Erica Fellows checks in on him regularly and remains in close contact with other agencies to ensure that Mr. Peterson’s transition to independence continues safely and smoothly.

A (Veteran’s) Life Transformed

Monday November 11 is Veterans Day. Please remember to honor and thank the brave men and women who have served our country.

Joseph’s Home considers it a privilege to help homeless veterans recover their health and heal their lives. Today we salute one of our most recent veteran graduates.

Mr. Dorgan is a longtime restaurant worker and U.S. Air Force veteran. He lost the job he loved just weeks after the 2008 housing market crash and just two months after the sudden death of his mother.

Unable to find full-time work in a tough job market, he became homeless earlier this year. Compounding his challenges, he had a recurrence of bladder cancer that had been in remission since 1996.

He alternated between a bed in the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center and a homeless shelter for several months while he underwent two surgeries and received chemotherapy. Because of his medical needs, Joseph’s Home was recommended as the right place for Mr. Dorgan to recover his health and heal his life, and he was admitted in June.

Since beginning another round of chemo in September, Mr. Dorgan’s health has stabilized and he has a positive prognosis. The Joseph’s Home staff helped him find an apartment within easy walking distance of the VA Medical Center and he got his keys last week.

A Life Transformed: Taking Care of Business

When Mr. Pisciotti arrived at Joseph’s Home in August 2012, he didn’t expect much. He was in desperate need of surgery and had no income or resources. He was less than a year into recovery from a gambling addiction that had wreaked havoc on his life. In his situation, any alternative to sleeping on the streets sounded good.

Mr. Pisciotti has spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal that causes pressure on the spinal cord. The condition causes debilitating numbness, weakness and pain. A surgery in 2008 to fuse the vertebrae in his neck was not successful. At 52, after years of work in food service, his body was no longer able to endure the strain of running a restaurant.

Compulsive gambling led to even greater loss, costing him two marriages and relationships with four of his five children. He came to Cleveland in 2011 seeking help from the gambling treatment program at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. Mr. Piscotti said the program saved his life. Because his problem was so severe, he went through the program twice. He then participated in a compensated work therapy program at the VA, where he could work on transitioning back to independent living.

But after a few months, symptoms from his spinal stenosis made the transition impossible. In need of a second surgery and without resources or family in the area, Mr. Piscotti had no idea where to go. His VA caseworker referred him to Joseph’s Home.

Mr. Pisciotti stayed at Joseph’s Home for nearly four months. He recuperated from surgery and planned a transition appropriate for his medical needs. The staff helped him find an affordable apartment on limited disability income. He attended multiple Gamblers Anonymous meetings weekly and continued his after-care program at the VA. A lapsed Catholic, he also resumed regular church attendance.

Today, Mr. Pisciotti lives independently and continues to be very involved in Gamblers Anonymous. He plans to return to college in the summer of 2013 to finish the 12 credit hours he needs to earn his bachelor’s degree in business, which will open a world of possibilities for his future.

Reflecting on his time at Joseph’s Home, Mr. Pisciotti said, “I got the care and direction needed during my recovery to get on with my life.”