On June 14th, we opened Transplant Apartment #4! This apartment was furnished and decorated with Children’s Hospital patients and families in mind. It comfortably sleeps 5-6 and there is a pack and play available, along with toys and games. It’s unique.
On the day it was opened, our first care giver moved in. Her husband is a double-lung transplant patient, who will be released from the hospital soon in order to move into the apartment.
Every week we are discovering how much what we are doing is needed. Over the last two weeks, we have had to turn away five families. So we will soon begin working on Apartment #5.
When things have been running perfectly for almost a year, it’s pretty amazing when you run into a major problem. Our problem: We had a family move into one of our apartments on a Thursday. It was far from the “normal” move-in. No less than 8 people arrived to see the apartment. What we had agreed to, as always, was a patient and a care giver; not a patient and seven others! In addition, this particular family was not on the same page, so to speak. Two major “players” actually couldn’t stand each other and each pulled Mary aside to tell her their side of the story. Talk about uncomfortable!
When Mary turned over the keys and left the apartment, all of the people were still there, including the patient and the assigned care giver. Mary called the Social Worker with some big concerns. The Social Worker assured Mary that the only people who would be living in the apartment would be the patient and the care giver. And she agreed to keep me in the loop about anything unusual happening.
Well, on Monday morning, Mary got a call from the Social Worker and things were not looking good. The weekend had been total chaos. It’s a long story that I won’t go into, but the bottom line was this: we had to go over to the apartment and evict all of them! The Social Worker had already told the residents that this was going to happen. WHAT??
So Bob and Mary headed over to the apartment and found three kids living there with no care giver in sight. This is a scary scenario for the patient. He was doing very well, but the fact is….things could change on a dime for him, and then what were the kids going to do? Bob and Mary’s ONLY concern was for the patient. And it was a BIG concern.
This all ended with everyone moving out, but not before Mary had to listen to a phone call that lasted 5 minutes (Bob is my witness!) telling her what a horrible, disrespectful person she was and that this story was going to the newspapers!
So far, we haven’t seen ourselves written up in the newspaper so we’re assuming someone got their head screwed on straight. But our concern is still all about the patient. We can only hope that all goes well for him. We’ll never know.
Lesson learned: GO WITH YOUR GUT!
I guess this is just part of doing business. Everything does not go the way we want it to all of the time. This week we were faced with a decision we hadn’t planned on having to make.
Bob and Mary drove down to the MAA (formerly Post) Briarcliff apartment complex where we rent Apartment #1. We went with the intent to rent Apartment #4. But things did not go well as we got into the discussion. Here’s the timeline:
1) MAA requires a background check on every resident over 18 and the cost is $85.00/per. This goes against one of our biggest and most critical goals, which is to keep our move-in process as simple as possible for our patients and care givers. And we are not willing to spend the foundation’s money in that way. (Post only did a background check on me and Bob, as did Belara).
2) In addition: Mary has been working with MAA’s Corporate office for at least 3 months to see if they would give us a free apartment under a program they call “Open Arms.” Open Arms does exactly what JCEF does. They are considered “corporate apartments,” which they furnish and manage. So the person we talked to at Briarcliff was going to follow up on that possibility. The only problem is their requirements:
- All occupants 18 years of age or older must successfully pass a community background check.
- Guests will need to provide a signed and dated Medical Records Authorization form.
- Guests will be required to furnish initial documentation from the facility where they are being treated (letter of medical treatment)
- At each six month interval from the date of occupancy of an Open Arms unit the guest will furnish updated documentation.
And all of this has to be completed before the patient or care giver can move in. Our process is:
- Get a call from a social worker (which so far, has literally happened the day before discharge and approval has already been given by the Georgia Transplant Foundation or LifeLink);
- The social worker has the family call Mary.
- Mary meets the family to turn over the keys.
- DONE – No stress on the new residents
3) We were thrown for a loop, so in the Bob and Mary way of handling stress, we drove next door to Mellow Mushroom to discuss our dilemma while we enjoyed a fabulous pizza!!! Our conclusion: it is what it is, but it won’t be for us. We have a very big problem with an apartment requiring personal information for a 2-3 month stay. Our goal from Day 1 has been to make this as easy as possible for our residents.
4) We next drove over to the Belara, where Apartment #2 is located to see if we could rent #4 from them. They were so accommodating. First they have a unit available next door to #2, similar floor plan. It will be available on June 11th. So we did the application and #4 is in the works. In addition, they waived most of the deposits. Up front we only have to pay $200 + a prorated first month’s rent. And yes, they are aware of the MAA requirement, but they do not have the same requirement.
5) Today we got an email from Belara saying another apartment (in line, physically, with #2 and #4) will be available on August 31st. So we have made the decision to give MAA Briarcliff a 60 day notice (required) on July 1st and we will simply move out of that apartment and into the next at Belara.
This will put 3 of our apartments in one place, literally lined up.
Apartment #3 is a MAA unit, so we are going to run into the same problem. When we do, we will try to rent another Belara unit (after giving the 60-day notice). But we will wait until that problem rears it’s ugly head.
Bottom line take away, which we realized at the Mellow Mushroom: God is sending us in a different direction. And we say that because this week we were presented with a new idea about places to rent. Our Real Estate Advisor, Ryan, showed us a triplex that was up for sale within 2 miles of Emory and CHOA. When we have the funds, would this be a possibility….3 apartments in one house? Maybe. None of what just happened is a coincidence. We believe that with all of our hearts. So right now we don’t know where we’re going exactly, but we’re listening for our marching orders! Faith will get us there!