When Byron found out there was a chance he would go blind, he began to blindfold himself while he walked around his apartment. This way, he thought, he would know how to get around if he lost his sight.
By the time Byron got to Maitri, he could only make out some shapes and colors. He started to use a support cane and became adept at pointing out when we moved the furniture in Maitri’s living room.
Now, Byron can guide you to the Safeway Market across the street from Maitri with an incredible amount of detail. He points out the potholes in the road before they come up, can tell you which rails he uses to get to the parking lot and he can get what he needs in each aisle.
“[Byron] taught us a lot about having sight impaired people in our care,” says BRANCH Coordinator David Valentine. “He was so willing to give us input to make Maitri a more accessible place.”
Byron helped Maitri become a better home to our residents. Now, we want to make sure his home is better. When Byron left Maitri after he healed from a health crisis, he stayed involved with us through our BRANCH Aftercare Program.
BRANCH is a continuation of our psychosocial, mental health, nutritional and social work case management to former residents of Maitri for as long as they need it.
When we helped Byron move back to his apartment in the Tenderloin, we realized his living situation was not ideal. The building was in disrepair and building managers were unresponsive. So we found a better apartment with floor to ceiling windows with tons of natural light, one of the last enjoyments Byron has of his sight.
Every day, Maitri advocates for our former residential clients wherever they are in their communities. David and our team continue to find ways to improve our clients’ lives and it is all made possible by you.
Our community makes BRANCH Aftercare possible. In the next year, we hope you join us as we expand this program to more people living with HIV/AIDS in their communities.