James makes his way across town to seek help with the purchase of his medications, because he doesn’t have the $17.99 for his seizure and anxiety prescriptions.
James, 39, says he’s been homeless since April 2016, when he says his mother ran off on him. “She was the payee for my disability check,” James explains. Until I can get that switched back to me, I have no income.” James lives primarily in a small wooded area near downtown but manages to couch-surf from time to time with friends. James suffers from severe tooth decay, seizures, life-threatening allergies, anxiety and depression. “I’ve got a severe seizure disorder. I can have seizures at any time. I've got back pain and sciatica where it causes my legs to go numb where it's hard to walk. I've got several mental health problems. I've got bipolar with schizophrenia. I've got major depression, severe social anxiety and PTSD,” James says.
James says once he gets his Social Security benefits coming in again he will receive monthly benefits of $553 combined with $137 a month for food assistance and $236 a month cash assistance. He’s been surviving on $373 a month for the past four months.