Brenda entered St. Martin’s Covenant House after spending nine months in prison for violent offenses. She is 50 years old, a long-time alcoholic, and has had significant anger issues. Brenda was placed on a SCRAM bracelet (i.e., alcohol monitor) as soon as she was released from prison. She expressed that she “knew” she would go back to drinking if she wasn’t monitored.
Although she has an impressive employment history, she had been receiving SSDI since 1996 due to severe physical and medical challenges. Often, folks receiving SSI/SSDI while at Dismas House or Covenant House struggle to take full advantage of the program as they don’t have the pressure to secure stable income. However, Brenda took full advantage of the program. She identified early-on that she becomes emotionally unstable when she is anxious, so her plan was focused and proactive. She consistently left the apartments early, and filled her days with productive activities such as attending therapy, groups, going to her medical appointments, etc. Despite her initial reluctance to stay sober, Brenda started going to 12-step meetings at Covenant House, and eventually to a daily meeting down the street.
As soon as her first SSDI check came in the mail, Brenda paid half of her program fees, and paid the remainder with the following month’s check. She secured housing halfway through the program, so the remainder of her time at Covenant House was spent focusing on her mental and physical health, sobriety, and parole compliance. Brenda has now graduated, and has continued with the plan she designed at Covenant House.