Last night a message arrived from Teresa Davis in which we get updated on what's been happening with Paradise Center, comments on some blog comments and learn the Paradise Center Scandal is now under the care of lawyers.
Below is the message from Teresa Davis...
Sorry it's taken so long for me to update you.
It has been a huge undertaking to set up our Center. Exhilirating, complex, fulfilling.
Although we aren't really "open" yet, members keep showing up. They complain about the "old place," the MHMR drop-in center. Just today, one fellow came for the first time. He said the other place "wasn't paying me" for work that he says he did. He's young and wants to stay busy but doesn't feel like they folks over there appreciate him. Even though we're not really open, I'm proud they have the option to come here.
I admit I've stayed away from the scandal blog. I'm focusing my energy on getting the Center set up and making it available to our members as soon as possible. We're letting the lawyers handle everything, which is a huge relief. Hopefully all of the rigamarole with MHMR will be settled soon.
Most of our guys don't really understand what all happened still. They seem scared to ask me about it. One guy today told me he heard I was in the hospital for a stroke. Another said he heard I stole something, but he's not sure what. Another said no one ever told him anything, he just noticed all the changes and that it was really different. He said he didn't really feel welcome there since he's not an MHMR client.
You know, I think it says alot that, even though they think I may be impaired from a stroke or even a thief, they feel more comfortable here with me than over there.
I said I don't read the blog, but a relative of one of the guys forwarded me a link to someone's comment about her brother. Yes, it's true, I helped and am helping him get into a safe, secure place to live. He is frustrating, though, I'll tell you that. All the things that they said are true: he smells bad, he talks alot and doesn't make much sense, and he can't manage his money. But these things are true about him too: he's a gifted artist whose prints were widely distributed in Pier 1 "back in the day". He's a graduate of UT, has a wicked sense of humor, and even when you think he's not listening, he is. He just may not like what we're saying.
He can argue about the silliest, or not so silliest, thing and make sense. You just have to be willing to listen.
And yes, it's true, that his sister was told by his MHMR caseworker that if he is not taking his medications, then he would not get his trust fund check. This is very illegal.
MHMR is the "trustee" for many patients who are determined by a physician unable to manage their disability income. If they have no one locally who is able or willing to be their financial payee, MHMR will be the payee.
And the way these clients get their money is by keeping their appointments with their caseworkers, nurse, doctors, etc. Even though it's a practice, I have never heard of a professional telling a family member that they will withhold money from the client if they don't show up for appointments or don't take medications. Not only is this illegal, and a violation of his patient rights, it is also very brazen. If this caseworker is willing to tell a family member this, wonder what she's been saying to the client?
Well, this fellow is going to be okay. His family is involved and are making great efforts to make sure he is safe and that his rights are not violated.
And for him, Paradise Center is once again what it always for him: a place where everyone knows his name, where he is safe, and where, if he needs it, we will help him to help himself.
His sister has told me via telephone how grateful she is for Paradise Center and for our efforts on her brother's behalf. I can tell that she wonders why I do what I do at Paradise Center. She mentioned, sheepishly, that she had read your blog, as had her other sister. She wasn't sure if she should mention it to me or not, indicating that she still wasn't sure about why or how everything happened with MHMR.
I assured her that Paradise Center is still the same non-profit that we were in the other building. We're just more independent now, without MHMR's grant. And a little poorer, too! But you can't put a price on freedom, that's what our guys here are saying. They've never been happier than they are now.
And truthfully, I'm pretty happy, too.
I'll tell you more about what motivates me personally another time. But these guys, showing up everyday and knowing they are welcomed, safe, and among friends, with opportunities to help themselves and contribute to our organization, is a big part of why I get out of bed every morning.
Thanks, Durango, for your blogs.