LIMA — Two years ago, Bob and Brianna were living on the streets in Findlay. They now rent a home close to downtown Lima, but don’t mistake the fact that the couple now have a roof over their heads as meaning their lives have seen a 180-degree turnaround.
Times are still difficult for the unmarried couple who have been together for the past four years. After leaving Findlay and temporarily living in a shelter in Lima, Bob got a job through a local employment agency. He’s worked for two years at an area factory, but irregular work hours — coupled with time missed recently because of various medical emergencies — have left the couple struggling to make ends meet.
“I’ve been off work for the last two weeks due to a collapsed lung,” Bob said. “I had to have emergency surgery.”
Even before that surgery, Bob had seen his hours at work fluctuate wildly.
“Sometimes I’d get sent home after working only for an hour. On average I’ve only been getting 20 hours or less at work each week,” he said. “That’s hard to explain to my landlord. We’re in a hole with her right now; we’re about $1,100 behind in our rent.”’
Even getting to work is a challenge for Bob. He doesn’t own an automobile, and his work day begins at 5:45 a.m. — before the Regional Transit Authority buses begin to roll each day. Sometimes he takes a cab to get to work; other times he makes the lengthy trek on foot.
Brianna is without a job because she suffers from scoleosis, an abnormal, sideways curvature of the spine. Both she and Bob suffer similar back maladies and both have gone through rhizotomy, a medical procedure that severs nerve roots in the spinal cord. Brianna said the procedure helps reduce the chronic pain that accompanies scoleosis.
As the holiday season approaches, Bob and Brianna have simple needs. “We could use a stove,” said Bob, who noted that all the couple’s cooking is now done either in a microwave or an electric skillet.
“And we could use a washer and a dryer,” Brianna said. “We haven’t been able to do laundry in quite some time.”
Instead of tangible possessions, however, the couple said they could simply use some financial help in catching up on their rent.