Help for Neighbor: Neal Byrd

Help for Neighbor: Neal Byrd

From Lee Sherman

I'm working to raise money for a deposit and first month's rent for my neighbor who is at risk of experiencing homelessness.

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My neighbor Neal is in a tough spot and is fearful that he will soon be homeless.  The short story is he's on a fixed income due to disability and has lived in his mother's house for over a decade.  She has had health problems and now in a facility that is costing the family $2,500 for her care so they are going to rent out the house to help cover the expense.  Neal was given through June to find another place but now the locks are being changed on his house and the electricity is being turned off.  He has been placed on a waiting list for subsidized housing, but in the meantime is having to live out of his pickup and is fearful of having to live on the street until he can find another situation.

I have passed along useful information to Neal that friends have provided me about programs he may qualify for.  He has tried to qualify for Social Security benefits and also Medicare and Medicaid, but thus far has been denied.  He is working with a lawyer and trying to navigate the bureaucracy, but this takes time, savvy, money, and reliable transportation. He did not receive a stimulus check.  He turned in his application for food assistance today but I also gave him a bag of groceries - has to be non-perishable because no way to cook or refrigerate.  His truck is having some problems that he doesn't have money to fix and he's having some medical issues as well and his health insurance is not enough.  Like I said a tough spot.

Neal's mother, Ms. Byrd, is just wonderful so I'm doing this for her as much as anyone.  She has had back problems and multiple surgeries and she is now living in a facility in Fort Worth to recover.  She is known for her meticulous lawn care and a very distinctive Christmas light display - some of my friends might get that last inside joke!  We miss her being around.

Finally, to me, rock bottom ought to be a safe, sanitary, efficiency apartment or something of this nature with enough food to eat and decent healthcare so that one can live in dignity even when times are tough or if they've made mistakes.  For those of us who don't receive periodic government bailouts, the floor is a lot lower and rock bottom means you are living in a cardboard box on the street and left to rot.  I hate to see that happen to my friend Neal and I know Ms. Byrd would hate to see that.  I can't give him everything I think he deserves as a human, but maybe together we can help him get through this tough spot. I asked what he really needs right now and he was most concerned about an upcoming deposit and first month's rent once he's able to find a place to live.  I figure $2,500 ought to cover that - although rent in Austin is crazy.  Anything will help him right now to transition into a different living situation.  Please help if you can.  Thanks y'all!

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