People who are unfamiliar with the behavior of the mentally ill think that the mental ill individual is challenged when it comes to planning, thinking ahead, and having an agenda. In other words they think the mentally ill individuals are not aware of their actions. In reality mentally ill individuals may exhibit bizarre behavior, but like normal sound minded individuals they can be calculated. In fact if you think about it; the mentally ill could be more calculating and manipulative then most sound minded people. The factor in play with the mentally ill is that the end result justifies the means.
For instance Jennifer has been living in the Support House for the last five years. Her mentally ill condition has been stabilized to the point where she has a high level of independent functioning. She has been managing her own medication; and doesn’t need to totality rely on staff to supervise her. Now, Jennifer feels that it is time for her to move on and get out of the Support House environment. She is desperate to move out to be on her own. But there is one thing holding her back. She does not process the means to be able to carry out her agenda of moving out. Yet, like the old saying goes “where there is a will, there is a way;” Jennifer came up with a plan; if successful she would have more than enough to fulfill her agenda of moving out.
Jennifer took a trip down to the local Department of Social Services (DSS) aka Welfare office and filled out an application for payment of rent arrears. The Welfare Worker told Jennifer what documents are needed to submit her request to the decision makers and she was given a deadline to produce them. Jennifer used ingenuity and produced the document that was required. The scheme worked, the decision makers at the DSS decided to issue Jennifer the rent arrears she requested to the tune of ten-thousand dollars. The rent arrears were sent directly to the Support House organization’s administration offices and credited to Jennifer’s account.
Once Jennifer got the notice from DSS that her rent arrears was paid; she was elated; part A of her scheme worked. Now she would move onto part B. She contacted the Support House administrative office and informed them that her rent was overpaid and she would like the a refund of the excess money that went towards paying her rent.
The Support House accountant contacted the location’s Director and told her that Jennifer’s rent was overpaid. The Director thought someone was pulling her leg when she was told that DSS paid an abundance of rent for Jennifer; especially since Jennifer did not owe any rent. The accountant confirmed that they received a payment of ten-thousand dollars towards Jennifer’s account. The accountant explained that if there is excess money in a resident’s rental account, and the resident doesn’t want it credited towards future rent, legally the organization have to refund the excess money to the resident.
The Director wonders how is it that she got DSS to pay rent which she doesn’t owe; and when other residents go to DSS for rent arrears; DSS give them a hard time. She decides to call someone at the DSS office who owed her a favor to look in the matter and determine if the action was an error or legitimate.
The Director called in the favor and explained the situation to the DSS worker. He looked into Jennifer’s case and saw that the approval and issuance was legitimate. The Worker told the Support House Director that the real question is what kind of document did Jennifer present to get the approval? The Worker told the Director that he would have to take a closer look at the case.
The Worker saw that Jennifer provided a document on the Support House letter head stating that Jennifer was in arrears and a breakdown of over 10 months of rent. The document was certified with the Director’s stamp. DSS accepted the document even though it did not have the Director’s signature. Furthermore, the explanation that was given was that she didn’t pay her rent because she used her Social Supplementary Income (SSI) to buy food and other necessities instead of paying the rent. The DSS decision makers agreed to issue the rent arrears request; justifying the decision by saying that they did not want Jennifer to lose her affordable housing during this homeless crises.
When all the chips fell to the ground; the Director felt that it would be unethical to release the excess money to Jennifer so she recommended that the money be sent back to DSS; the accountant agreed. The Director called Jennifer to her office and broke the news that she won’t be getting the refund that she was expecting. Jennifer wasn’t a happy camper when she heard the news; she went to her room and banged her fists on the wall in frustration. Maybe one day, she’ll find a way to move out and go somewhere of her own choosing.
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