Dnna Watten's Story Continued...
Dana and I met at Sister Kenney Institute in 1976. There was a new apartment building that was 100 percent accessible. I arranged for transportation with a friend Michael Patrick, and we took Dana and Marie on a tour of what was available. The apartment would have been perfect, but there was no Personal Care Attendant program then.
Dana met with Leah Labarre Welch, who herself was going through much of what Dana was, and she told Dana about the homemakers program. At that time the homemakers program was for sick moms with little children, but somehow Leah had managed to change that and had received homemaker hours for herself. Dana applied, and after many letters to Senators and Congressmen, was accepted in the program. Soon after that, Dana left the nursing home for his new home. In 1979, the Personal Care Attendant program (PCA) began in Minnesota, and Dana remains on that program today.
In 1980, I was working for Realty Management (now Lasalle Management, Inc.). I was being transferred, and Dana and I had conversations about the job I was leaving.
I was managing a new apartment for people with disabilities called Seward Square. I encouraged Dana to apply for the position. A few days before his interview he landed in Sr. Kenny Institute with a kidney stone. The property manager was not overly impressed with any of the other applicants, so I suggested that she go over to the hospital and interview Dana. She did, and Dana got the position.
In July of 1980, Dana became resident manager of Seward Square Apartments, and in 1983 when I left Lewis Park Apartments, Dana became their manager, too. To this day he is managing both buildings. He has been gainfully employed for sixteen years! But there's more.
Dana has a new bed with a control box that he can use. This technology has cut down the PCA service hours Dana once required. Dana requires a PCA 11 hours a day now instead of 24 hours. Dana has a spend down of $538.00 a month so the PCA program pays approximately $1,800.00 a month to his attendant. This is the only subsidy Dana receives.