Mary - Boone County
I’m not “clean”. I've been on and off the streets for years. Every time I get evicted for hoarding or not paying rent it gets worse. I cannot stop buying stuff. I’ve been in and out of treatment for years but having someone else control my money is the only thing that helps. My family pretty much has given up on me so I was on a waiting list for a payee for a few years. When my family helps they get frustrated with my problem which just makes it worse. . When I was using family help,I was always afraid to leave my money with them so I would end up spending it all as soon as possible. I really like my SMS manager. She works closely with my case manager. We built a treatment plan. I’m in housing again it took a while because I would never get a recommendation from a land lord. Big purchases have to go through my case manager that keeps my money on my card lower. I have a little savings that’s a first.
Alan - Kenton County
My Parkinson’s disease medication makes it difficult for me to remember appointments and bills. I don’t have any family close by that can help. Twenty Years in the Navy I thought I could handle anything, Money was really causing me stress so the VA recommended me to SMS. I handle my daily business but they handle my rent, electric and medical co-pays so I’m never without the things that are important and I haven’t had to become a burden to my family.
Charlie - Kenton County
My corrections sponsor knew about the SMS program and he finally he confronted me with the fact that I could not manage my money. He could tell I had given up even trying. The past 15 years of living in institutions had taken away everything.
I became an alcoholic at 18 when I entered the service but everything there is so controlled that as long as you get up no one notices. When it became obvious was when I got out. The change was so drastic and the stress was so bad. I lost my wife and kids because of my issues. I couldn’t keep a job, ended up on the street, then in jail. Money was always an issue… having money just fed the addiction not having money added stress.
I was in a halfway house for 4 years since I got out of prison. I got sober and clean but buying crap and gambling just replaced drinking and drugs. I could never save rent money. Addiction is in me, keeps me down.
After I left my first meeting with my money manager I felt calm not like anything was being taken away but as if a great weight was gone. I had hope that I finally could save to get out and get my own place. It only took 6 months with the program something I had failed at for 4 years. Because I use the service I could get someone to rent to me even with my history. SMS took care of my paperwork for housing and food assistance. The best part is I’m really able to work on my relationship with my kids because I’m not coming to them for money anymore and they will have a place to come and visit me.
Connie - Hamilton County
I am wheelchair bound due to a birth defect. I was hardly able to get to my payee and I kept missing appointments. So they would withhold my personal expense checks. My group home manager suggested I consider another payee service. She gave me the flyer for SMS because she felt they were different and would work better for me. They have a debit card. No trips trying to get to a bank, no more trying to keep cash in my room, and no more expensive transport. I can save my money for things I really need.
Joe - Hamilton County
The VA sent me to SMS for help managing my money. I was homeless living in my car. I’m disabled from multiple strokes and I have terrible PTSD from my time overseas. I was getting my VA disability on a card. By the middle of the month the money was gone and I couldn't seem to keep up. Could not remember where I spent money. No one would rent to me I had so many evictions on my record. My medication would get stolen on a monthly from others in the camp area so my PTSD was out of control I couldn't even hold a conversation. Then my phone was stolen. I tried to file a police report but I couldn’t. In the end I was arrested and returned to the VA hospital for treatment. While I was in there …the car which was my only home and held all my stuff was taken for an unpaid title loan which a family member convinced me to take out and had promised to pay back on time. I was released from VA with a bag of medication, borrowed old clothes, and no place to go.
I have been off the streets for 6 months. Within just maybe a week or so of signing on with SMS, I was in an apartment. After speaking with my money manager that rent would be paid the landlords were okay to rent to me. My back bills were cleaned up and I had a phone again. Even though she couldn't get my car back my money manager took the time to get them to release my personal papers from the car, my family photos and my tools. My marine graduation photo got water damage from being in the trunk through the winter. She found someone to restore it for me at no cost. That meant probably more than getting the apartment.
After working with SMS I have my dignity back that means a lot to an old soldier. Almost as good… I have new clothes, food stamps, a bus pass, phone, and I never would have been able to remember to fill out all that paperwork on my own . I’m safe in my apartment and I can sleep so my medication works better. Without the issues of managing my money alone I can budget even save.
Liz - Hamilton County
I never had a payee. My mom managed our money . I lived with her and I worked full time in a packaging plant. But then she got sick and there was no one to pay the bills. Her social security went to the nursing home. I spent everything we had left on her funeral. We had some credit cards, things I didn't know about and everything was behind. The stress made me lose my job, I had a break down. I was moved from a nursing home to a group home this year. I still couldn't keep up the bills on my Social security income. I kept getting in trouble at the bank with overdraft and pay day loans. Now my bills are paid and no one is calling. My asset manager negotiated off some of my fees so that I could get things paid off and submitted the paperwork so some of the hospital bills were forgiven. I couldn't do it on my own. . I have my card now so I can get spending money and a monthly budget is given to me so I can see which bills we are working on.
Mark - Hamilton County
I was referred by my probation officer. Pretty much I was homeless and that doesn't work when you are on probation. I have been out of jail for a year. I was incarcerated for domestic violence. That makes it hard to find an apartment. I kept moving in with friends but paying for it too. No job so I’m living off early pension from the VA it’s not a lot. Things are getting better though now. I have an apartment. SMS found a private landlord that was willing to rent with me. Section 8 is helping with the rent so I’m able to afford to live on my own. I have the electric bills from the past straight now too. I’m going to college in the Fall for some job training. . I’m trying to get back to work. I will keep this service though because I’m straight with my money in forever. I’m going to try to save for my own house when I get work. That’s the plan we put together for the future. In my life I never had a plan for a future with money
Shaquilla - Hamilton County
I've never been a drugger just I’m not smart. No school you know. I don’t read. I would maybe still have my kids if I could read. I have been on and off the streets for about 20 years. My home was horrible drugs you know. We never had anything moved around every couple weeks, Lived with strangers a lot. I was kicked out of the house for getting pregnant at 14 by my mom’s friend. I never went to school I just made it on the streets best I could.
I've had apartments but no one to keep me on my medication so I couldn't follow the rule and no one to keep my paper work up for assistance so I would get evicted. SMS is working with my CM to keep me on medication and they do my housing assistance paperwork so I won’t get behind on rent. They got my SS back for me and I will be getting food assistance as well. I got my new apartment a few weeks ago. I've never had a new TV before but I have one and it’s great. I’m going to have my own real bed too.
I have to have a payee because I’m too not smart.
Payees are hard to get, I tried to use my family but they just took my money and I ended up back on the street. The shelter I was in sent me to SMS for help. I had a payee in another state but because I couldn't even keep my phone on so they cut off my services. I went three months with no money then my SSDI was suspended. I couldn't get the medication I need for my nerves and that helps me focus. I feel safe with this program. Everything was explained to me and I can call in or email message if I have an issue. I have a card for my money not I a check I have to wait for then pay to cash. They call me and check in. That’s good because I don’t always remember stuff.