PathLights extends help to seniors as economy squeezes budget
PathLights, which has helped adults 60 and older and people with disabilities for nearly 50 years, has expanded its Path to Financial Stability program to benefit residents of Palos, Lemont, Orland, Worth and Stickney townships. Helps to apply.
This free service helps residents find savings on energy assistance, transportation, food, and prescriptions, property taxes, health insurance, and cellphone or Internet service. With rising prices it has become more necessary.
Barbara, a client who lives in Alsip, said the non-profit organization means the world to her, especially given rising food, utility and drug costs.
“Without them, I didn’t know for sure what to do,” she said. “They’re incredible. They’re fantastic.”
Barbara, who is in her 80s, said PathLights’ help with getting good medical coverage, along with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is most helpful.
“The main thing is my prescriptions,” she said. “It’s quite expensive.”
She knows firsthand how difficult it can be to ask for help.
“I’ve lived in Alsip for many years, and the first time I went to Pathlights I saw some women who were volunteers and I thought they were watching me,” she recalled. “I felt a little embarrassed for a moment, and then I thought ‘Why? They’re not living my life. I have to do what I need to make my life comfortable.’ I’m not asking for extras or things I don’t need.”
Barbara said she went to church with volunteers, and thought she was doing fine, even though she needed to.
“It happens, but you have to let go of the embarrassment and go for it,” she said. “If you’re in dire need of medical coverage or food stamps or anything else — your utilities — don’t hesitate to contact them to see what they have to say.”
She said the manager was amazing and always went back to her or someone else did.
“They were very kind, helpful and sympathetic,” she said. “I would like to commend the volunteers and the staff of Pathlights working there. They are looking for your best welfare. ,
Another client helped by Pathlights is Rita, 82, who lives in Orland Park with her roommate, Steve, 92. She gets help with utility bills, and Steve gets help with Snape.
“I never in my life thought we would have these needs, but it has happened,” Rita shared, adding that in 2019, her hospital stay in a nursing home for three weeks changed her circumstances. “They are very helpful in many ways. They are good.”
She said she doesn’t mind getting someone else’s help like her roommate, “but I’m ashamed of myself.” She tells people about the help Pathlight provides but does not say that she receives services.
“A guy was saying he wouldn’t have a place to live, and I said to go to the pathlights to see if they could help you,” she said. “I recommend them because they’ve helped a lot. They don’t let you down. They’re helpful. They want to help you.”
Barbara and Rita are among 1,800 people who have applied for this year’s Pathlights. New Executive Director Alain Grande said that about 2,800 people have contacted Pathites for advice and guidance on financial issues and benefits.
Grande said it’s important to help as many people as possible to achieve financial stability, and the Path to Financial Stability program works on cost savings programs to help clients reduce their overall living expenses, ideally. Helps them to increase their monthly income and stay in their homes. community
“This often complicated process has become more challenging for some as most applications are now completed online,” she said. “While the work has always been done, Pathlights has developed and enhanced the program over the years.”
Thanks to generous financial support from Lemont Township, Northwestern Medicine and the Henrietta Lang Burke Foundation, the path to the financial stability program has expanded. It is also funded by federal funds and other interested partners as well as AgeOption and the Area Agency on Aging, which support it through Title 3 Old American Act funds.
Companies or individuals who wish to contribute to the program can click on the Donations tab www.pathlights.orgContacting the organization or mailing the check with a note to Pathlight’s office in Palos Heights.
“Our experts help you learn about qualifications, assess, assess eligibility, and apply for cost-saving programs,” Grande said. “They support clients throughout the process, advise on the correct documentation and then submit applications for the client.”
She said customers who meet specific criteria can sometimes get direct support.
“Sometimes pathlights may have funds available to assist with specific needs,” she explained. “Currently we can assist with past due utility, rent and mortgage bills.”
Grande said the Illinois Department on Aging also offers an Emergency Senior Services Fund, which can help eligible clients with certain essential expenses, such as nutritional needs, personal hygiene needs, and emergency assistance.
She said the economy has turned more people to the programme.
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“We have experienced an increase in the volume of phone calls requesting an assessment for eligibility for all benefits,” she said. “Many customers who are already enrolled are calling to learn about other possible support because so many people are struggling.”
Most people are asking for help with rent and mortgage payments.
“It may be because it’s their biggest expense,” she said. “We’ve seen rents go up significantly, and this can be a hardship for fixed income earners.”
Trained staff gather information from potential clients about their financial situation and assess their eligibility for available programs, giving them a detailed list of documents they need to apply for. Employees submit applications after documents are received and provide follow-up action to receive benefits. Employees also help through any appeals process. Information 708-361-0219 or . available on www.pathlights.org,
She said that the organization wants to create awareness as not many people are aware of these benefits. Some benefits are linked to income and assets, but some, such as Medicare Prescription Plan D, which opens for enrollment from October 15 through December 7, are not.
“Sometimes there are programs that people are not aware of, and we want to make sure that we reach as many people as possible,” she said. “I’m sure there are people out there who can save money. Who doesn’t need that?”
Melinda Moore is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.
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