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Asking for Community Support


A few weeks ago I submitted the story of the struggle I have been goin through since a work place injury I received in December. I fractured my left hip and have been fighting for my rights since January of this year. I am now hoping for some help to keep me in my home with the lights on. I am a 49 year old B-boro native. 4th generation on my fathers side. I come from a hard working middle class family, brought up to work hard and support your family and community. I have never asked for any hand outs before this happened to me. I am now recovering from my final hip surgery, I had to have my right hip replacement from two years ago revised in February and my left one, the one I fractured at work, was replaced on the 17th of this month.

I had all the surgeries done here at BMH by Dr. Vranos. I have every intention to be back to work by late June or early July. I have been in regular communication with my employer and they are holding my position. I cannot find myself waving a cardboard sign at Malfunction Junction or the foot bridge, there are too many there and I am technically not homeless yet. I have been able to come up so far with my rent and utilities from the kindness of many friends and family via social media.

I have a Go Fund Me up and going but a lot of the people have come to give it to me directly to make sure all the donation goes to me and I post those there. I am trying to raise $2100 to cover my rent and utilities for the next 10 weeks. I have been in contact with Rhianna Kendrick and Heather Burrows at the Drop In Center and they have been great. I am excepting tax deductable donations with their help. If people want to donate to my housing fund through the nice folks at Ground Works then folks will be guaranteed that all money collected will go to my landlord and utility companies. This will keep me from becoming homeless due to an accident.

I am really counting on the outreach and support from ordinary people as I continue to appeal. Any money over the $2100 will be donated to Ground Works and I will post every donation I receive to keep people up to date and when the goal has been met. This whole thing has been the biggest challenge of my adult life. I have been wracked with fear and anxiety since January 3rd. I want the whole thing behind me and with the final surgery done it is almost over.

   Please consider helping out. I am available to answer any questions. Heather at the Drop In has seen and made copies of all the Dr. notes and correspondence with lawyers, VT Dept of Labor, Nationwide Agribuisness and surgeons. It has only been through the generosity of real people that I have been able to keep up.

As of this posting I am two weeks past due on my rent and my home phone and internet was finally shut off on the 20th. I am heading home from my girlfriends house in Amherst today, I have been here recovering from the total left hip replacement. I am going to head home and start, once again, to pull my self up from this.

Will you help? All donations can be dropped off at the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center at 60 Soth Main St. Brattleboro. Just tell them it's for Joel Porter's Housing Fund, they will make sure it gets to my landlord, the electric company and phone/internet. I will post all donations here and on my Go Fund Me account. Thank You very much for any and all consideration, I have faith I will get through this one way or another..and God Bless.      Joel A. Porter Sr.

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A check up

I was able to get Comcast to turn the phone and wifi back on. I was in the hospital and then at my friends house recovering from the hip replacement and when I got home Friday, it was off. But I was able to get 5 days to get up the past due amount. I had been playing the one month behind thing for months, but I will be down town tomorrow seeing if I can make a miracle happen. Anyone interested in talking can find me probably between the Co-op and Drop In.

 
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Have you talked to anyone at

Have you talked to anyone at SEVCA? Their office is on Grove Street in the Stone Church building. I know they can often help with housing costs and some utilities. Probably not wifi - not sure that's considered an essential utility but maybe phone or other living costs. Worth a try if you haven't already been in touch with them.

 
 #

A check up

Hi, I have. I have received some help from community resources, especially in the beginning of this struggle in January. It is one of the reasons I have been able to squeak through into May only being 2 weeks behind. It is incredible to me that I have lasted this long without a paycheck. There is only so much some of these places can do. I will check in with them tomorrow, today I am staying off my left leg, I over did it this weekend with my Kids and I am feeling it today. Thank you for your post. I am grateful to keep this dialog going.

 
 #

Heat Fund

The Heat Fund might be able to help with heating bills.

 
 #

Checking in

I have received so many great new avenues to look into. I am grateful and amazed for the people I have met in my experience. This community is very open to helping out neighbors in need. I understand the unease of handing out money to somebody flying a sign downtown. People want to know that what they are giving away to these folks will bring them up and not down. I have a different situation going on. I am not homeless yet, I am asking for help to pay my rent while I heal and get back to work. At the time of my injury I was working 60 plus hours a week at a fairly big employer here in town. I will be going back to my position as soon as I am cleared by my Dr. I am thinking the end of June. Even though I injured my hip while at work, and I reported it, went to their Dr., was diagnosed with a impacted fracture on my left femoral neck and have been out since December 14th, it is not my employers fault that their insurance company denied my claim. If the insurance company would have just paid, then not only would I not be looking for hand ups to keep me from the streets, but the tax payers of Vermont would not have had to pay for my food stamps and medical bills, which with two major hip operations in the past 3 months, with hospitalization. It is rather sickening to me that big insurance companies, which are mandatory and are paid well for the coverage, would leave hard working people to defend themselves when they are injured doing their job. I was at work when their Dr. called there and told me I had to leave because I had fractured my hip loading that truck. Looking back, I should have never reported my injury. I have worked over 35 years, never tried to get anything for nothing. This has been a very scary and anxious thing for me. I am on the mend, and will go back to work this Summer, but I really need some help from my neighbors and friends. Thank you for your post and keeping this conversation open. I am confident of the outcome, yet what an eye opening experience. JP.

 
 #

a Big Thank You!

I am here at the Drop In Center checking in and Rhianna has given me some news that I was totally not expecting but was blown away over. There has been donations to my plea to help me stay in my home while I heal from hip surgery and get back to work. I had finally lost my internet at home and have been unable to check e-mails or even give check ins, but I just received three donations that I know of! I am depositing one check today and that will go to my landlord on Saturday, the others that were donated to Ground Works will go directly to Chris my landlord. I cannot express my absolute gratitude and humbling sense of community. I really am thankful. I should have wifi at home tomorrow thanks to my good friend Andrea who bought me a wireless thing for my house, I had posted a earlier thanks but it disappeared! Thank You Brattleboro! I have always been proud to be part of a truly incredible and caring Community.

I posted that earlier today when I went to the Ground Works Drop In Center to check on a package my S.O had bought on Amazon. It is a modem that will allow me to use my home phone and pick up a wireless wifi signal. I lost my Comcast service on Saturday morning and have been without phone or internet since then. I had been in a feeling of despair since then. I started this week feeling like a person that was squatting in my own home. The utilities are getting shut off, I am 3 weeks behind in rent and I do not even have enough gas to start moving my stuff into a storage place that I also cannot afford. Each morning was just like that. Even this morning, but I got up, drove to the hospital for my physical therapy and then drove to the Drop In. I was hanging outside talking to Mike about the cool Spring we are having when Rhianna came out and said "Hey, I was wondering when you were going to pop in".. She then told me that there had been some donations for my housing and brought me upstairs to show me what some people had done. I could not believe it. Well, actually I could, but I breathed a sigh of relief. I felt that I was going to actually make it through this. My family, friends, neighbors and community is allowing me to get through this, in my home. I went home and sat down and for the first time this month I did'nt feel like I did not have a stable home. I was reminded that things are happening behind the scenes that I am not aware of that are working in my behalf. I am so incredibly grateful for the community help and outreach.
I do not know if it is proper to mention people who have donated to my housing here on this format, but I will be posting them on my Go Fund Me account that anyone should be able to find through facebook. Thank You oh so very much. I am truly humbled by this. I am on the mend and I am confident that I will get through this without losing my home and go back to work this July. I am so proud to be a part of a wonderful community. Sincerely, Joel A. Porter Sr.

 
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My gratitude continues to exceed my expectations

John Thank you. Ellen thank You. Kelly, Thank You. Bob..Thank You. Andrea, Mike, Susan, Rick, KC..Thank You. Brian, Thanks Big Time, the other Brian- Big big thanks. Knowles.. you helped when January was a long month. How do I go about recognizing everyone that has allowed me to take the time to recover from a crazy work related injury and two major hip surgeries. Sure my Comcast is off, I have the Obama phone and things are tight, but this community and some old friends have kept me limping forward with my rent. I will give another check in later, I just really needed to let people now that I am truly thankful. Joel.

 
 #

Nice!

Really glad that you got a heap of good news for a change. Sometimes little things can mean the most. Thanks, everyone who helped.

Feel free to thank anyone you want here...

July's not far away.

 
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Thanks, my struggle is almost done

I am sending this out today to Thank community members for they're previous contributions and to let people know that I am still in need of some more help in keeping me in my home while I recover from the left hip replacement from a month ago. I just got out from the doctor and he says I can return to work in probably 6 or 8 weeks. My employer is anxious for my return and I am also. This has been the biggest challenge I have faced in such a long time. I am still waiting for a hearing from the Department of Labor for a decision. I plan on forging ahead, even if I return to work first. I am amazed at the help I have received from friends and strangers alike. I plan on setting up my tent on the Common early Friday morning to participate in the camp out to raise awareness of homelessness in our community. I will have my two youngest daughters and our camp will be marked as Porter Camp, if anyone wishes to stop by I will bring all the paperwork from the date of my injury back in December along with all the Dr.'s notes, xrays and letters from lawyer's, insurance company and the VT Dept of Labor to explain how the insurance company is trying to fight my work place injury. I have been taking donations mailed to me at the Drop In and they have mailed checks to my landlord. I am certain that I will get through this without losing my apartment and everything I've worked so hard to get, but it will be because of ordinary folks and not the Big Insurance Corporations. Thank You Brattleboro. See you Friday on the Common. Joel Porter.

 
 #

hang in there, Joel

I'll be able to help a little next week. Glad to hear people are helping!

 
 #

Thanks, my struggle is almost done

Thanks annikee I am grateful to keep this dialogue going and for the help. I just read a poster for the camp out this Friday on the Common and I guess I need to sign up, and that they are asking for $100 suggested donation for each tent. I didn't realize this so I do not know if me and my Girls will be taking part. I do not want to take away from the Ground Works and the awesome things they do for the community. I will be stopping in there because I do want to do all I can for community outreach. After I am recovered I hope to become even more civic minded and involved in helping others who get stuck in between the cracks.
Because I have been reaching out since my workers comp denial in January, I have spent a lot of time at the Drop In Center and other places and have gotten to talk with quite a few of the homeless here in B-boro, some I've known that grew up here, and I have realized that there is so much more involved in why people find themselves in such a bad place. Some has to do not to do with mental health issues, some with a substance abuse problem and others are choosing to live that way. I am grateful for the fact that I do have a home today and a job to go back to. I hope to meet some of you who have helped me to dodge a catastrophe and kept me from the streets. I will check in soon. Joel.

 
 #

So close yet still it couldn't be done.

Last week I went to my Dr, I was cleared for light duty and back to full duty on August 1st. I went straight to my employer, filled out an application and turned in the Dr note hoping to get back work this week. I talked with the GM and she told me they were very much looking forward to me coming back. It has been just over 6 months since the injury, two major hip surgeries and no paycheck, the last one was December 22nd 2016. They cannot put me to work until I can be 100%, which is 5 weeks. I am over a month behind in my rent, the registration and inspection are due this month, I don't even have the gas to drive it anyway. I'm sitting here in absolute fear, anxiety and depression. I'm so close to returning to work but even closer to losing everything. I'll hit the streets tomorrow with my two youngest daughters to beg for help so I don't lose our apartment. I have them for the week because school is out for the summer. I'm trying not to let them know how close Dad is to losing his place but they can just tell, being 6 and 7 that something is wrong. Because they technically live with my ex-wife I can't claim them and find housing for us. I really need some help. The response in the beginning was awesome and I still appreciate everyone who helped. I need a miracle now though. I plan on stopping into a few downtown businesses and offer myself to work whatever I can find with the hope perhaps they can help me out of this hole and allow me to work it off. I'm going to ask family and friends once again to borrow some money. I am also hoping that somebody hears about my struggle and can let me borrow the money to give me some breathing room until the paychecks start coming in again.
I struggle with asking for help. So many are also facing hard times. I don't want hand outs or welfare. I want to get back to work. I hate the fact that I can't take care of myself and my daughters right now and I'm petrified of becoming homeless again and how hard it is to find affordable housing once you become homeless. I need help, prayers and a miracle this week. So look for a man with two little Kids waving a sign, and send us a prayer and pass this story on. It's like the cans you see at stores with the story of a family who is facing large medical bills or the spaghetti dinners to benefit a family who lost everything in a fire and the community is being asked to help. I don't have a can or a spaghetti dinner, I just have myself and a will to survive.
Thank You. Joel Porter Sr.

 
 #

I worry that if you have your

I worry that if you have your children out in public holding a sign and asking for money that
someone could report you to social services and
your children's future may be put in jeopardy.
I'm also wondering what impact this action may have on your children
I understand that you're struggling and that it's been difficult
for quite awhile. I'm just worried that bringing your daughters
out in public to panhandle with you may not be the
best thing for them. I can't believe that there isn't some agency in this town
that will help you.

 
 #

You may know about this but

You may know about this but Brooks Library has a great Summer lunch program for kids. It's from 12 -1 and lots of families bring their kids. They offer nutritious, tasty lunches - totally free for kids and teens. Plus your girls could have the time in the library to play a game with you or other kids or just hang out. They do a wonderful job of making all kids welcome.

 
 #

I worry too, and I'll

I worry too, and I'll probably bring them home to their mother's house. I don't want to subject my Girls to how difficult it is. Last summer when I was homeless I had a tent set up behind the centenary on South Main St but on our weekends I would take it down and go to the State Park. I wanted them to think we were just camping. Now I'm ready to do just that again but I'm angry that everything I worked for is quickly slipping away. I'm scared. I'm so close to going back to work but it's not enough to keep me in my house. The Girls can go home, I can get their Mom to bring them to the different Summer programs here in town. I don't know how the State could bring a case on me for asking for support to get us through this, they aren't living on the streets, they're on summer break hanging with Dad, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone called to report me. I'm just at my wits end, scared and overwhelmed. I've been homeless before, I've had to start over a few times in my life, I'm just tired of it. I appreciate your input and this dialog. I'll keep the Kids out of it. JP

 
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I don't think it's wrong for

I don't think it's wrong for kids to know that their parent is struggling and that things are difficult. I was a single Mom and we definitely went through some hard times financially and my kids that were old enough to understand were told that even though things were hard they would eventually get better. And they did. So, yes, letting your daughters know that you're trying to get things right is a good thing to tell them.But, that's different than having them with you in public if you're actually panhandling. Have you looked into getting them into a summer program in town- a camp or an arts program? I know there are scholarships to be had. In your financial situation you would probably be in a good position to be able to get scholarships for them and then they could be somewhere having fun while you're looking for ways to get through your situation. Someone at the Boys and Girls Club may have information about programs for your girls.
I hope things improve for you soon. I wish you and your children a brighter future.

 
 #

Thank You

I typically have my two youngest on the weekends but with vacation here I try to keep them longer. I have talked with my co-parent about all the great summer programs available here in B-boro for a couple years and although I totally want them to experience all the things I did as a young boy growing up in town, swimming lessons, summer camp et al..she has a different view and it is not worth the disagreements and since she has absolute custody and therefore makes all decisions about school, medical and basically everything I can only bring them to places that don't need registration, like the library.
I wrote the post yesterday in a real panic and once I hit send I knew I probably was not going to bring the Girls panhandling. Not because I am worried about DCF getting involved but more because it feels like using them for props or something. I have posted for a few months about the situation I've been in since January when things started getting shut off and rent was getting behind. The fact I haven't received a paycheck in 6 months but my rent is only 6 weeks behind is incredible. Of course I haven't paid any electric, and all other things I could afford, like a cell phone, home phone, cable, internet, Netflix, pizza on Fridays, laundry, gas, car insurance and repairs and the like are things that were a regular part of life have been taken out as priorities. Keeping my apartment has taken over. My rent is close to $700 a month for a one bedroom efficiency and my landlord has been patient and understanding but is always concerned. Before my injury in December I was working between 42 to 67 hours a week. I paid almost $5,700 in child support last year, I was finally moving forward after an unhealthy marriage and bitter divorce. Now, at 49 years old I'm finding myself completely overwhelmed with the thought of losing everything again. Caught between the cracks of fighting big insurance companies and not qualified for help from the State other than food stamps, $160 towards rent a month and $56 for personal needs. I am close to getting back to work. I have worked all my life. My parents, Grandparents and Great Grandparents have all worked hard in this town of ours and now I'm competing with "homeless" young people panhandling for a bag of dope and a couple 40 oz. beers so they can hang out at "The Wall" behind Lester's machine shop. They have no plans on finding a job or a home. I was talking with one of my friends who work at the Whetstone Station that they were so under staffed that they went up to where a young man was flying a sign stating that he would work and anything helps and said do you want a job, $10 an hour plus a meal every shift? He said yes, lasted 4 hours and went on break and never came back..now he's out there flying the same sign.
I continue to ask for help from my community until I'm back to work in a month or so. Every dime goes to my landlord. I'll even give his address so people can send it directly. I hope I never have to go through this again and I sure as Hell never want any of mine or anyone else's children have to either. Thanks for the dialogue. Joel Porter Sr.

 
 #

Community Support

Hello, I wanted to check in on my situation today to keep folks up to date on what's going on and to also share some contact info for anyone in town that wishes to ask me any questions about me or my situation.
I have reached out to many people over the past 5+ months, I have talked with so many people in our community and this has been one of the few bright moments in what has been a very overwhelming time. I really look forward to the simple things I can enjoy on a daily basis that gets me out of what has happened and what I should be thinking is yet to come. Being present and knowing I have all I need to get through to the next moment has always been a struggle and takes much practice. I have been able to come up with this weeks rent, and hopefully tomorrow I can even be able to offer my landlord even a bit more. I stopped into the Drop In Center and my case worker told me a few people from town had actually called in to ask a few questions about what they have read on this forum, where they could send any money and other questions about me and my situation. I do not know if giving my personal information on this site is allowed or even proper, but I wish I could answer these questions myself. There are a few ways to be able to do that I believe, and one is to send me a message directly on this sight or you may e-mail me from the info on my profile here. But I will reply to e-mails sent to rudyloogan67@gmail and I am willing to share my phone number there to answer any questions one may have about me, or to even meet at the Drop In Center for a coffee. I am still looking for community support to keep me in my home as I get ready to enter the workforce on August 1st. Thank you Brattleboro.. Joel

 
 #

Well on my way

I have received many responses to my situation in this past week. I went around hand delivering letters asking for support to many local business owners, and although not a single one got back to me even to ask any questions, I was able to find support in the most unlikely places. I also was able to meet a few people who did have some questions for me and all of those conversations were excellent. I have very much enjoyed the chance to meet new people and have lively discussions that I walked away from feeling like things are much more positive than I imagined. I am still very much behind in rent and utility bills, but I return to work on August 1st. If anyone still wishes to contribute to me and help this local family man stay securely in my home, by all means please do. All funds go directly to my landlord and electric company. I will keep posting through out the rest of this month to keep interested people informed on how this all goes. Thank you to the ones who took the time to reach out and made a real difference. Joel P.

 
 #

Thanks, my struggle is almost done

Last night KC stopped over at my house and wanted to donate to this weeks rent! He gave me $80, half the weekly due! I am 3 weeks behind but luckily my landlord is as understanding and patient, and he knows I am trying, that people have been very positive and that I will be back to work soon enough. Before all this I was the tenant that worked 50+ hours a week and always paid the rent. Thanks KC, and anyone else who will help me keep the lights on and a roof over the head's of me and my two youngest daughters, being the weekend warrior Dad that I am.. Joel P. ( off to physical therapy!)

 

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