“Stories from the Field” is a bi-weekly series of articles written by Safe Harbor staff members who work tirelessly in the field to serve the needs of children, families, and individuals throughout Coastal Georgia.

The Rubber Band
Authored by Jessica Kennedy, Homeless Management Information System
Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity. I think of resiliency as a rubber band. It can stretch and return to its shape. Sometimes the resiliency rubber band stretches and retracts causing fissures, weakens, and snaps, breaking the complexity of resiliency. Some may believe a break in resiliency is the end, but a rubber band can be tied together and still hold.
In January 2022, I received a call from a gentleman living in a storage shed with no water, electricity or “comforts of home”. He had found Safe Harbors contact information with another agency. After completing the intake process, Safe Harbor provided the client with shelter through the Hotel-Motel Voucher program. The client had many medical and mental health concerns: kidney failure requiring fifteen hours of dialysis per week, bi-polar disorder, and addiction. The client had a criminal history with convictions and received just over $800 a month in social security disability insurance. The client had many barriers to overcome.

As we began to create a case plan, the client’s primary care doctor wanted to place the client in a nursing home, the client was completing applications for rentals and working with a rapid rehousing agency. As I worked with the social workers with the dialysis center, the possibility of a nursing home space was unlikely. The rental market in the area was not compatible with our client’s income. After a month with the Hotel Motel Voucher, with no real options in housing, we created another case plan.
The beginning of February brought opportunities for our client to be placed in sustainable housing with a program meeting the mental health and addiction concerns of the client. The client began receiving mental health medication, counseling and transitioned to another dialysis center. The client was awarded an efficient apartment at a subsidized rate of $230.00 per month. The client exited the Hotel Motel Program on February 23, 2022.
Working with this client, I saw him enter our program physically and emotionally distraught. The barriers he faced may have seemed insurmountable; however, this client never said no, always completed each task asked of him. Safe Harbor provided him with a space to repair his rubber band. He tied it together and found he could bounce back.