HHSA Newsroom

How Whole Person Care Prevented A Disabled Redding Resident from Becoming Homeless

Published May 9, 2019
  • Community Education
  • Success Stories
  • Whole Person Care

John Keller Whole Person GraduateJohn Keller’s situation got perilous about a year ago when he received a 30-day notice to vacate from his group home. He was without a vehicle, and he says he feared he wouldn’t survive living on the streets.  

John, 54, has been disabled since age 22 when he lost his right leg in a gun accident. He also dealt with depression, PTSD and with alcoholism, which worsened when he was homeless.

But, fortunately, he had been accepted into the Whole Person Care program, and staff stepped up to support him in his time of need. Through WPC, John accessed medical care, mental health treatment and support to find permanent housing.

Today, he has lived independently in his own apartment in Redding since September 2018. He says his health has dramatically improved.

“Now that I’m stabilized, I haven’t picked up a drink, I’m much happier. I’ve got some good neighbors. That’s all people need: a social life and a place to seek refuge,” John said.

He has time to go regularly to therapy, and he now owns a little Chihuahua named Maus, who gives him a lot of joy.

“Mentally, I’m feeling a lot better. My stress level has dropped,” he said. “And now I have a companion animal who gives me a reason to smile.”

How Whole Person Care Helped

Shasta County’s Whole Person Care pilot helps people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. People who are eligible are assigned a small team that includes a registered nurse, a medical case manager and housing case manager who work with the client to develop a plan to help that person’s wellness.

In John’s case, once he had to leave his group home, his team helped arrange for him a stay at HHSA’s Crisis Residential & Residential Center. While he was there, he was able to improve his mental health, stay safe and search for housing.

Because of his disability and mental health struggles, John had found it difficult to save enough money for a deposit and first month’s rent. Through WPC, he received rental assistance to get him back on his feet.

His WPC nurse also helped when he was hospitalized due to alcohol withdrawals, ensuring he could stay long enough to avoid unnecessary suffering.

They also connected him with In-Home Support Services, and his worker now assists him with running errands, doing chores and with cooking.

They also helped him by making appointments, ensuring he had transportation and generally helped him stabilize his mood.

(Infographic: Did you know it often takes much longer than 30 days to help someone find permanent housing? Check out the timeline below, which documents all the major steps of John's journey.)


How Having A Home Helps John

Now that he doesn’t have to worry about finding his next meal or how to stay warm at night, John says, he can focus more on his artwork and his spiritual side.

He’s sober, he’s painting again and enjoys the community at Shasta Baptist Church. As he gets stronger, he hopes to enroll at Shasta College and earn an associate’s degree in psychology so he can help others.

 “(The WPC team) also encouraged me to be pro-active, make decisions for myself and participate. This will help me be self-sufficient in the future,” he said.

Check out a montage of John's art below.

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