Nina Kortendick obituary and dead, Community update from Society

Individuals with disabilities are disproportionately susceptible to experiencing homelessness.

Research indicates that “nearly one-quarter of individuals facing homelessness have a disability, encompassing physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities, as well as mental health or substance abuse disorders.”

This harsh reality became vivid through the lived experience of Kathleen, a recent client whose story resonated with me. Despite months of reaching out to local housing organizations, Kathleen’s prospects were diminishing. For almost a year, she found herself in precarious living conditions, lacking a secure place to rest her head at night.

Upon a referral from Racine/Kenosha Community Action, a local support agency, Kathleen discovered Society’s Assets. Through this connection, she met Independent Living (IL) Coordinator Cynthia Thomas, marking a turning point in her journey. With Cynthia’s assistance in numerous phone calls and housing applications across the area, Kathleen aimed to secure a residence in a safe neighborhood with an affordable monthly budget and individuals of her age.

Throughout the transition to a stable home, Cynthia emphasized to Kathleen the importance of holding her head high. Undeterred, Kathleen persisted, advocating for herself and preserving her independence, driven by the desire to escape homelessness.

Kathleen shared that she refused to succumb to depression or wait for change; she recognized the need to take action. Her persistence bore fruit, and Kathleen qualified for an apartment. This marks a significant milestone for her—an inaugural experience of having a place to call her own, a source of immense joy.

One of Kathleen’s primary objectives is community involvement. “Cindy has helped me achieve so many goals in a short amount of time. I want to give back like Cindy gave to me,” she expressed with tears of happiness in her eyes.

I feel grateful to have heard Kathleen’s story and admire her courage and tenacity. She stands as an unwavering beacon of hope for those facing similar circumstances. As she embarks on this new year, Kathleen is eager to pursue her goals, including continuing her love for bingo with friends, engaging in crocheting, volunteering at women and children’s shelters, securing a part-time job, and spending quality time with her seven grandchildren.

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