Barbara Schifano was introduced to Tisha in the first week of December 2009 for housing assistance through the IL/VR Collaboration. Upon their first meeting, it was determined that Tisha is currently receiving Dialysis for Kidney disease 3x per week and is currently on the waiting list to receive her second kidney. Tisha and her three children, ages 11, 10 and 7 moved from Chicago in August 2009 after suffering significant family challenges and arrived in MN to receive medical care and Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Upon arriving in MN, Tisha and her family stayed at a homeless shelter but needed a more stable living situation for the children.
In Early January, Tisha contacted Barbara to tell her that she had found a 2 bedroom apartment and that she was working with Simpson Housing to ensure financial assistance to pay for her housing needs. Tisha stated she could move in the apartment after an inspection by Simpson Housing but would need household items since she moved to MN with only clothing for the children and herself.
Barbara offered Tisha resources for household items but due to some restrictions, Tisha was unable to receive the support she desperately needed. Barbara contacted MCIL and completed an “in-house” referral to appeal to the Nursing Home Relocation program to see if donated items could be obtained. After little negotiation with David, Tanya, Pamela and Ann at MCIL, it was determined that Hotel Furniture would donate a new bed for Tisha in addition to much needed NEW household items purchased with NHR funds as well as items from the MCIL storage facility.
On January 25, 2010, Barbara, Pamela and Andy along with assistance from Hotel Furniture moved furniture and a bed to Tisha’s new home. It was a moment that will not certainly be forgotten. Tisha’s smile upon opening up the door spoke directly to the reason the IL/VR Collaboration exists. While moving the items in the home, the children arrived shortly after and were delighted at the toys, new sheets, blankets, towels and microwave that had arrived. It was like Christmas all over for them as they lovingly fought over who would get the board games donated. Each child also received a new outfit to be worn to the new church they had started attending. It truly was a new beginning for this family.
I was warmed by the appreciation shown by Tisha and her family as the smiles on their faces spoke of gratitude. The kids promised Barbara that they would make her cookies and milk if she were to come back. The bond created by this collaboration is strong and shall not falter anytime soon. This story is a true testament to what works when needs are met with compassion.