BOSS provides Representative Payee service to individuals who have been designated by Social Security as needing someone to manage their income, or who have requested this assistance. BOSS works with people to plan their budget, receives their public benefit checks, and issues checks to vendors.
Money management assistance and budgeting.
Emma worked at Cal State Hayward for eight years, and being laid off came out of the blue. She assumed finding another job would be easy, but it was not. Eventually her unemployment insurance ran out, and she started drinking too much in frustration. She lived in a car, on the streets, and occasionally in jail. She ended up at BOSS’s Multi-Agency Service Center (MASC) and got SSI but was still drinking. She worked to get clean, but kept relapsing.
After more time in shelters, back on the streets, and in and out of John George hospital, she connected with the Representative Payee at BOSS, who helped stabilize her in housing by budgeting her money and helping her pay bills. She maintained her sobriety and found a room in a board and care home. She enjoys having her own key, her own bed, her own TV, she says—though it took getting used to.
Lowanna entered BOSS when battling depression and struggling to find a place to live. Her journey out of homelessness has been full of ups and downs. Since arriving in BOSS, she enrolled herself in Berkeley City College and completed a certificate of achievement in their Public and Human Services program. Then she asked herself “Why stop here?” and she has been charging forward with that question ever since. With BOSS being able to ensure her housing and, more importantly, stability in her life, she was able to explore what she wanted to do and “focus on something” that she loved: “helping other people”.
Lowanna graduated with an Associates of Arts degree, and plans to continue her education at CSU East Bay with a BA in Sociology this September, with plans to get a Masters. Besides working, she also volunteers with several organizations in the Bay Area.With plenty of new opportunities, she looks forward to the future, and seeing all the possible places life can lead her.