“I’m Going to Enjoy the Rest of My Life” – Partners’ ECM program at work in the community.

Last Updated March 29, 2024

Nicholas Gonzales tapped on the window of a small, parked car. He’d already spoken by phone with the car’s driver, Kurt Johnson. 

Johnson peered out. He was an older man hunched over the steering wheel. Stacked in the backseat was just about everything he possessed. 

Gonzales, a Partners in Care Foundation Care Coordinator, explained he had been sent to help Johnson find a home. Mr. Johnson cautiously opened the door. 

“I was sleeping in my car,” says Johnson. At night he parked in a safe lot run by a nonprofit. Sometimes he stayed with relatives, but they could seldom take him in. During the day he just drove around. His car often broke down. 

I’m Going to Enjoy the Rest of My Life

He told Gonzales he was in pain and had trouble breathing. His feet were going numb, and he couldn’t see very well. “The street is no place for an old man,” he said. 

Johnson made big efforts to help himself, but they didn’t work out. He states bitterly, “Nobody helped.” He was told there was a six-year wait for housing. He couldn’t get to his medical appointments when his car needed repairs. He remembers that “everything was bringing me down.” 

Finally, he’d found a lifeline. Partners specializes in social care that supports medical care. Staffed by professionals whose mandate is to go the extra mile, it helps people like Johnson live safely in a home of their own – not to be forced into an institution, and above all, the street. 

Gonzales swung into action. He sent out a blizzard of applications for housing. Meanwhile, he worked to keep Johnson safe where he was and on track with his medical appointments and seven medications. He helped him buy food, clothing, and sanitary supplies which Johnson stashed in the trunk of his car. Gonzales stayed connected, making sure Johnson was OK, bolstering his spirits during a very dark time. 

“I’m Going to Enjoy the Rest of My Life” Partners’ ECM program at work in the community. Slowly, slowly, Johnson began to rally. He suffers from serious medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, Diabetes, and asthma. Keeping on top of his healthcare isn’t a luxury. It’s a matter of survival. 

Then his car broke down, and Gonzales showed him how to use free clinic transport. Scheduling medical appointments seemed an impossible task, keeping track of them even harder. Johnson gradually learned to do both. As Gonzales says, “Mr. Johnson doesn’t let pride get in the way when he needs to ask for help, and he is always cordial and has integrity about what’s going on with him.” After a few visits to his doctor, Johnson started feeling better. 

Partners found him a home a few months later, a record time in the face of a statewide shortage of housing for the homeless. It is a furnished small apartment in his old neighborhood with everything he needs to feel comfortable and secure. 

Good things continue to happen. Instead of struggling to get by Johnson has a regular life and can focus on his health. His daughter and grandchild visit several times a week. Gonzales checks in with supplies and encouragement.

 Best of all, Johnson sees his life back on path. Asked what he plans to do in the future, he laughs, “I’m going to enjoy the rest of my life!”

Share the Post