“William”, a 62-year-old Native American male who has several physical disabilities, had lost his wallet that contained all his documents, so he asked his OAHIIO Independent Living Specialist (ILS) to assist him in obtaining new identification. Additionally, he sought assistance in finding affordable housing and applying for Social Security Benefits.

He was born in Oshweken, Ontario and would first need to request a new Birth Certificate on-line at the province’s documentation center, “ServiceOntario”, before he could get a new Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS or “Status card”) confirming he is a government-registered First Nation individual, entitled to programs under the Canadian federal Indian Act. The U.S. Social Security Administration also needed a Blood Quantum Letter from the Six Nations Land/Membership Department, confirming he had at least 50% “Aboriginal Blood”, entitling him, by treaty, to be able to live and work in Canada or in the United States, and receive various Social Security benefits here. He desired an apartment located on the first floor, or somewhere that has elevators and is accessible to residents with disabilities. 

For more than a year, the ILS worked with William, attempting to locate appropriate housing; going through the Social Security process, filing for his Birth Certificate, obtaining a Blood Quantum Letter and his Native American Status Card. She also provided apartment listings and leads on housing that would best suit his needs. After William received all the necessary ID documents, he began receiving Social Security. Then, the ILS was able to call Niagara Falls Housing Authority (NFHA) to see exactly how high he was on the waiting list for housing and arranged with Senior Housing Manager Angela Smith for William to start the interviewing process on August 2, 2016. On August 14, 2017, he was able to move into an apartment in Anthony Spallino Towers in Niagara Falls, which currently supports his needs, and allows him to live independently within the community.