30 Stories to Celebrate 30 Years of Service
Betty's Story
"It has been a rough road but I've come a long way and I'm ready for the next step." That is how Betty describes that last decade of her life; it has been a winding road of homelessness, addiction, death, illness, and recovery. Here is her story.

Betty was first introduced to Innovative Housing, Inc. while living at the Clifford Apartments. She moved there with her husband in 2006, referred by Transition Projects Inc., after being homeless for 6 months. Things were better because she had housing, but she was still suffering from her addiction to alcohol. In 2010 Betty was thrown for a loop when her husband passed away. In addition to dealing with her grief, Betty was faced with a loss of income that affected her housing stability. Kat Lentz, IHI's Resident Services Coordinator, helped Betty get through this difficult time by paying part of her rent for a few months and helping her secure rental assistance from Northwest Pilot Project, a nonprofit that provides services to low-income seniors.

Betty knew she needed a change, so Kat helped her get on a waitlist and secure housing at another IHI property, Lyndon Musolf Manor, in downtown Portland. Unfortunately, just a few weeks after moving in, Betty began to not feel well. Luckily, Betty had already begun to form relationships with her new neighbors at Musolf and one of them found her and alerted a community partner, Father Dan, and Musolf's property manager at the time, Catherine. Father Dan and Catherine convinced Betty to go to the hospital, where she learned that she had suffered from a heart attack. Betty says, "I know that if it weren't for Father Dan, my new neighbor, and Catherine, I would have died in my room." That incident was a blessing in disguise. As Betty explains, "The time I was hospitalized also allowed me to become clean and sober."

For the last two years, Betty has focused on putting her life back together. She has remained clean and sober and is focusing on improving her health. Merri Gonsalves, IHI's former Benefits Specialist, helped Betty apply for and receive VA death benefits, giving her a reliable source of income. Betty's newest goal is to save money and move into an apartment with her daughter. Once again, Kat is assisting her with the planning. Betty is so thankful for her home at Musolf and IHI's assistance. She says, "Kat is my go-to person. Anytime I need anything she is the first person I talk to. She has helped me with paperwork, appointments, bus tickets, and clothes. If it weren't for Kat, there are a lot of things I wouldn't have accomplished. The support at Musolf is great - the people that come and provide meals and the activities in the community room. IHI has been my lifesaver. I recommend IHI housing for anybody that is starting out or trying to transition into something better."