Martha "People Are A Gift"

Photography by    Randy Bacon

Photography by Randy Bacon

Jessica (Martha’s Advocate): I work for Safe to sleep, I started working there about 6 months ago and Martha was probably one of the first women that I worked with. Safe to Sleep is an overnight shelter, but I work with the women during the day and try to help them find housing. So I just sat with Martha and helped her fill out paperwork…and we've just kind of continued on working together.

Martha: I was born in Indiana but lived in Florida most of my life. I came to Springfield because my son lives here. I did live in Lebanon, but then I moved back to Florida., and now I’m back. That’s why I’m here mainly. For my son. Right now I’m at a medical respite right now. It’s like a shelter for people with medical issues.

I was in the hospital with pneumonia and I would have had to go back to the shelter, but they had the respite and they recommended me for it. So I went there and I recouped there, and then they just kept me. So I’m still there. I stay overnight - I’m the night person - I just watch over the other girls there. I get up and feed them, and then there’s other volunteers that come throughout the day to help them get to their appointments and different things. And then I make their lunch and dinner, even though I’m only supposed to work at night. I cook for them and that’s about all I do all day.

Well, today we ran all over the city. I was in an automobile accident and I was trying to get my social security and trying to find the records, so my advocate, Jessica, has been running me everywhere trying to track down records.

Jessica: She's been applying for disability… she wants to work, but she just can’t. She's told me so many times “if I could just work” but she can’t… she can’t. So she’s applied for disability and just last week found out she was denied. Which is pretty common - so now she’s got to go through the hearing and all that stuff. Get a lawyer, appeal it. We were just trying to track down some information on the initial injury of her car accident. And sort of the salt in the wound for Martha is that she has an apartment she could take with the housing authority - she could say ‘yes’ and be in an apartment in a week. But it requires a rent of $40 a month - and she doesn’t have a disability check, and the stars did not align and it did not work out and there’s nothing… she doesn’t have $40 a month. And they just keep calling her and she keeps saying ‘no’. It’s just painfully difficult.

Martha: I couldn't get it done without her. Having someone to help you, like Jessica, is a gift.

(Story chronicled in 2016)