‘I don’t have health care and am still paying off medical bills. I just paid off an $800 hospital bill and I am currently paying $300 for a doctor’s note that I needed to return to work.’
It’s been a journey — my mom and I were homeless for a year in 2007. It took 11 months of looking almost every day to find a job. During that time my mom and I both became seriously depressed and she found out that she has Lupus. My mom has her ups and downs. She needs my help every day — help with showering and help with other daily chores.
Through all the ups and downs, I graduated from Dutchess Community College with a degree in Community Mental Health. Today, I am working two part-time jobs.
I work part-time at Taconic Resource Center for Independence. I am the independent living specialist — I help anyone with disabilities live a more independent life, for example, helping people move out of a nursing home into the community. I get $12 an hour and work 20 hours a week.
I have a second job — I work on campus at the Office of Accommodative Services. They pay me $14 an hour for 20 hours a week. At Taconic, I get sick days, holidays and vacation, but no health care. The college doesn’t offer me any benefits.
Even working two jobs, it’s hard for me to make ends meet. To work, I need a car and have to make payments. I don’t have health care and am still paying off medical bills. I just paid off an $800 hospital bill and I am currently paying $300 for a doctor’s note that I needed to return to work.
I do good work — I enjoy making a contribution. I just hope that I can earn enough to live independently and pay my own bills. Those jobs, even for someone with an A.A. degree, aren’t out there. I know, I’ve been looking.