This summer, Manuel “Manny” Garcia, 72, came to the Haven of Hope men’s shelter in Van Wert after he was displaced from his apartment following serious health issues.

Haven of Hope and CHP Home Care & Hospice are collaborating with local resources to address Garcia’s needs and help him progress toward independent living.

Garcia was living in Defiance when he suffered a stroke earlier this year and later underwent surgery in Toledo for a blood clot. While recuperating in a Defiance nursing facility, he lost his apartment after falling behind on rent payments.

Nowhere to go

Discharged from the nursing facility with no home to return to, and nowhere to go, he made his way to Van Wert. He lived here years ago while working at the Borden Cheese factory.

Garcia found a place at Haven of Hope men’s shelter.

He was a regular at the shelter for a few months. Haven of Hope began guiding him to take the next steps to reestablish himself.

“We serve both short-term, transitory clients, as well as longer-term ones like Manny,” said Darla Liatos, case manager for Haven of Hope. “I work with the men to help connect them with community resources to get them out of the shelter and into independent living.”

One of Liatos’ first contacts was CHP Home Care & Hospice for nursing help with Garcia’s medications.

Home Health Care

Dr. John Sharma, MD, FAAFP with Van Wert Health made a referral for home health nursing services.

Tacey Blakeley, LSW, a medical social worker with CHP, worked to get Garcia approved for Medicaid and PASSPORT through the Area Agency on Aging in Lima. (PASSPORT is a Medicaid program that helps eligible Ohioans get long-term services and support to stay in their homes and communities).

Still in fragile health, Garcia also needed a place to stay during the day since the homeless shelter is only open in the evening. The CHP Adult Day Center in Van Wert fit the bill perfectly.

CHP Adult Day Center

Garcia began attending the CHP Adult Day Center twice a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. He gets transportation from the adult day center van.

It gives him a place to go during the day where he can socialize with others.

“I like talking with the people here and being with them,” Garcia said. “We enjoy meals together, doing activities, and playing games.”

The adult day center also provides necessary medical supervision.

“Manny has a lot of meds, and he sometimes gets confused,” Liatos said. “The staff at CHP makes sure he takes the right ones at the right time. They just do a great job of taking care of him.”

Liatos also connected Garcia with Job and Family Services for Medicaid and food assistance, and with local food pantries at First United Methodist Church and Trinity Friends Church.

A Place to Live

Most recently, Haven of Hope worked to secure an apartment for Garcia to transition out of the shelter, and Love INC of Van Wert County supplied furniture.

Blakeley continued to work with Garcia to meet practical needs like establishing local banking services and social security issues.

Nurses from CHP address his ongoing health needs, assist with medications, and help manage his medical appointments.

No Longer Homeless

“Manny is so sweet, he just touches you,” Liatos said. “You want to help him because he’s so appreciative and kind.”

Even though he is no longer homeless, Garcia still comes to Haven of Hope from time to time to share a meal and to socialize with the men who are where he once was.

CHP Adult Day Center, Haven of Hope, and Love INC are local nonprofit agencies supported in part through the support of the United Way of Van Wert County.

Photo: Manny Garcia with Jenny Tobias (Left) and Suzanne Harris at the CHP Adult Day Center in Van Wert.