William Gazaway first became homeless when he was released from prison in 2007. During the two years that followed, he went back to jail for 90 days for not reporting to his probation officer. While in jail, William’s benefits were cut off, leaving him without an income source once he had served his time.
William also suffered from emphysema, blood clots, and nerve damage. Without benefits or a primary care doctor, William resorted to using Grady Memorial Hospital’s emergency room for treatment for his chronic health conditions. In 2009, a social worker at Grady referred William to the Atlanta Outreach Project, where he entered transitional housing. The agency took immediate action to find out how to reactivate his social security benefits, and obtained the necessary paperwork to verify that he had been released from jail and no longer had any outstanding warrants.
Within a few months, William was receiving both his SSI and retirement benefits. He also was connected with primary care and began seeing a doctor regularly. Especially now when a recent checkup revealed a tumor in William’s lungs, he can now quickly be referred to an oncologist and get the treatment he needs.