Clerical error catastrophe: Gerald’s story
POSTSCRIPT, 2017: Gerald died in the loving care of hospice this spring, surrounded by friends who stood by him, homeless and housed. He was laid to rest at historic Oakwood Cemetery through the generosity of a DRC donor.
Nearly three years after he was mistakenly declared dead, an error that cost him home and income, your gifts have given Gerald a safe place to rebuild his life.
It started with a letter. In June 2013, Gerald received written notice that the Social Security Administration believed him to be dead. The benefits on which he relied had been stopped, the letter said, with one exception. It asked Gerald where his death benefit should be sent.
“I’ve been dead on and off since 2013,” he joked in reference to his struggle to have the error corrected and his benefits restored.
Without income, Gerald fell behind in rent. Soon he was homeless and turned to shelters in Fort Worth’s East Lancaster Avenue homeless services corridor.
Before long, home was a park off Riverside Drive. Gerald was surviving on as few as three meals a week when DRC Housing Specialist David Paniagua came to his campsite earlier this year.
The DRC had housing available in the area. Was he interested? Gerald didn’t hesitate. Because of his health–Gerald is a two-time cancer survivor–he was among the first to move into a furnished efficiency apartment with a full kitchen.
At the DRC, we believe a campsite is no place to spend your golden years. If you agree, now is the time to give a gift of new life. You’ll bring people home with every dollar.