Ensuring safe children, strong families and vibrant communities…these are LSF values that, along with teamwork, often merge to solve complex challenges for those we serve. Consider the story of a young man that LSF Health Systems (LSFHS) along with other partner agencies was tasked with helping.
A request from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) recounted the story of a young man, whom we’ll call “Tom,” needing special assistance due to challenges living at home. He was living with his father, who is in his 70s, and a 3-year-old child. DCF tried obtaining assistance from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) as well as Adult Protective Services (APS), but neither could provide assistance. Therefore, DCF reached out to Lauren Pilkinton, Adult System of Care Manager at LSF Health Systems, for ideas about how to help Tom who arrived at a Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) following an incident in the home. Tom, who is autistic and blind, couldn’t return home, the only place he’s ever lived. Concerned that he would fall through the cracks because he did not qualify for services offered by LSF Heath Systems (i.e., no mental health or substance abuse diagnosis) and was denied APD services, Lauren pondered a solution. She knew she had to do something to provide resources for Tom and his family. She reached out to Michael Blessing, LSFHS Regional Director of the Department of Housing and Community Inclusion, asking about any locations that could assist. Michael involved Sheri Goodwin, Housing Care Coordinator, and she searched far and wide for a solution. With the assistance of Paul Tarnowski, Housing Resource Specialist in Marion County, she located an appropriate housing placement for Tom as well as services for individuals who are blind.
While things were falling into place, one barrier still existed – funding. Although Tom could afford the monthly living expenses, he lacked the initial deposit as well as the first and last month of rent, totaling $1,400. Committed to helping Tom find a solution, Sheri soon learned that Tom’s father had sought the assistance of the family’s pastor and that Tom would receive the funds he needed to move in, thanks to the generosity and compassion of church members. He would still be close to his family, but in a more peaceful living environment better suited to meet his needs.
Working together with faith-based communities and the Florida Department of Children and Families, the teamwork exhibited by Lauren, Michael, Sheri, and Paul is a great example of how LSF Health Systems doesn’t stop at the first roadblock. Everyone is dedicated to finding a solution, supporting members of the community who require our assistance, and never giving up.