“A Call That Changed My Life” – How to Improve Self-Sufficiency for Persons with Disabilities
  • Financial Assistance
  • People with Disabilities
  • Stories & Testimonials

A few years ago Beverly* knew she was in trouble but didn’t know where to turn.

Surgery left her with excruciating stomach and joint pain, making it difficult to walk.

Beverly had to leave her part-time job due to her disability and was behind on her rent. One day she returned home to find a notice in her mail: her rent for her Peninsula apartment was going up $200 a month—an astronomical amount on her small fixed income. Feeling despondent, she talked to a friend who said, “Have you ever thought about calling JFCS?”

“I never considered myself the type of person to ask for help,” she says. “But when you’re as weak as I was, you just have to ask. I took my chances in calling.” Beverly says that call changed her life.


JFCS’ Disabilities Services makes independence for Beverly possible.

Personalized Plans Provide the Right Care for Each Person

When Beverly called JFCS’ Disabilities Services, she was connected to John Bisenius, LCSW, the Director of Adult Services on the Peninsula. Within a few days John came to visit her at her home.

“John immediately struck me as a really nice guy,” Beverly recalls. “He’s just very compassionate.”

JFCS stepped in to provide a counseling plan, financial aid to help with Beverly’s rent, and help to find long-term, affordable housing.

JFCS Helps Clients Maintain Optimal Well-Being and Self-Sufficiency

Just getting through the day can be hard for those struggling with severe physical or mental disabilities. In Beverly’s case basic tasks like grocery shopping, banking, and going to the pharmacy were difficult. Her adult children live out of state and she has no other family nearby.

Sadly, Beverly’s situation is common. Individuals with disabilities in California are almost twice as likely to live in poverty as their counterparts with no disabling health conditions.

When John meets with her for monthly check-ins, he brings groceries from the JFCS Food Pantry and also helps coordinate JFCS volunteers to deliver meals and make sure Beverly is not alone.

And when Beverly described to John feeling lonely and not able to walk well, John encouraged her to get a therapy dog. With JFCS’ help, she did.

“Max never leaves my side. Since I got him I’m not so depressed and alone. He also encourages me to be more active then I was before.”

Whereas some programs have very restricted eligibility requirements, JFCS’ Disabilities Services are unique in that the program is open to a wide variety of community members—individuals with physical and developmental disabilities, and those with physical or mental illness.

“Our JFCS case managers are experts at engaging people at the most difficult times in their lives,” says Nancy Masters, JFCS’ Associate Executive Director. “The most valuable thing for our clients is to know that there’s always someone who understands them and will help them.”

Each year JFCS’ Disabilities Services helps more than 2,000 children and adults and their families. In addition to case management, it offers counseling, supplemental groceries, meal delivery, financial assistance, and a residential living community for adults with developmental disabilities, The Gary Shupin Independent Living Community.

“A Lifesaver in More Ways Than One”

Since getting help from JFCS, Beverly says her life has stabilized financially and she’s independent and hopeful about her future.

“My case manager has been a lifesaver in more ways than one. Any time I need to help I know John is just a phone call away.”

“I hope to be able to manage the pain well enough so that I can get back to work and even volunteer. I’d like to help other people make changes in their lives like I have in order to better themselves.”

*Name has been changed for confidentiality.

Learn more about JFCS’ Disabilities Services here >

To donate to this program, please contact Barbara Farber at BarbaraF@jfcs.org or 415-449-3858.

Funding for JFCS’ Disabilities Services is provided by generous individuals and foundations, including: the Barbara and Gerson Bakar Endowment Fund, the Terry & John Levin/Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation of California, Frances & Theodore Geballe/Eucalyptus Foundation, Federation Newhouse Fund, Lana Berke Silverman Endowment Fund, and Barbara Shupin Fund.


Posted by Admin on February 7, 2017