Ailing S.F. woman gets help with rent

Glenda Minor of San Francisco was just weeks away from being homeless, with no children and no family members she could turn to. Sick since childhood with chronic asthma and diagnosed with congestive heart failure two years ago, she had medical bills and a rent that became more than she could handle.

But after months of being in and out of the hospital and searching for help, something changed. The Chronicle’s Season of Sharing stepped in, paying off her six months of back rent and preventing her imminent eviction.

“They are something special,” Minor, 58, said of the program. “There is not much out there for women like me, but they kept me going.”

Minor became acutely ill with pneumonia in January, and spent the next three months in and out of the hospital. In March, after she was finally feeling better, she slipped and fell in a parking lot, breaking her elbow. She went back to work the next day and continued working until surgery, she said, but a vicious cycle of hospital and emergency wards prevented her from ever being able to catch up on rent, and she eventually found herself six months behind.

She has lived in her apartment for seven years. “I get along with her really well; she is a good tenant,” said her landlord, Galo Dbib. “That is why we were willing to work with her until she could get the help that she needed.”

However, with time running out, and no family to turn to for help, Minor was referred to St. Anthony’s. There, she found out about the Season of Sharing fund and with their assistance, applied for help.

Working part time

Now caught up on rent, working part time again, and experiencing better health, all Minor wants is to pay it forward. She is going to be a volunteer art teacher at Larkin Street Youth Services.

Minor got her art degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco in 1978, and spent the years after that teaching middle school children the joy of art and expression. Now on disability and working part time for Petco, she looks back fondly on those days.

“It was more than I ever thought I would ever do, and every day I say that. How I ended up in retail I will never know,” Minor said with a smile.

Sitting in the lobby of the Polk Gulch building where she lives, Minor has her laptop and books scattered around her. With no money for cable and a broken DVD player she hasn’t been able to replace, she spends most of her time there, looking through her jewelry catalog and conversing with the other tenants.

Uses artistic talent

Minor is warm and friendly, and with her optimistic, caring spirit, she uses her talent as an artist to help the people around her, teaching neighbor kids and friends anything they want to learn about art.

“I will teach anyone who wants to learn, or if they don’t want to learn but like something, I make it for them because for me it’s such a joy,” Minor said.

“I want to give back. I appreciate every day I wake up now. It’s a wondrous world out there, and I want to learn it all.”