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Healthy Homes: Housing as Health Care

For most of us the financial burden of healthcare coverage is often covered by your employer, but what happens when your employment is impacted by your health? Let's walk through an all too common scenario that our clients face:

  1. You contract an illness that takes you several weeks to recover from. During this time you use all of the sick leave your employer offers for the calendar year.

  2. A couple months later, you trip walking down the stairs of your apartment and break your foot. Without any more sick leave to use, you are forced to take an unexcused absence to go to the doctor. Your employer has a three strike policy for unexcused absences, so you are okay with just using the first strike.

  3. After getting a boot and returning to work, you realize that your foot isn’t healing the way it should and your doctor wants you to attend physical therapy. The only appointments available are during your shift at work, so you decide not to do physical therapy.

  4. In the following months you experience a growing pain. The decision to not go to physical therapy means your foot does not heal correctly and you are left with huge amounts of pain. Being in a position where you are standing all day on your feet, this becomes unbearable.

  5. Despite not wanting to miss work, you can’t take the pain anymore and miss two shifts, earning yourself the remaining two strikes.

  6. Your boss, even though they are understanding of the situation, is forced to fire you because of the established unexcused absence policy.

  7. Before long your emergency fund is spent and bills are piling up. The unemployment checks are not enough to pay your rent while you are looking for a new job. Since your experience is in retail, you are struggling to find a position where you can sit or have reasonable accommodation for your injury. You’re no longer able to pay for your apartment and are left with no other options than to go to a shelter.