A woman paralyzed from the waist down in what is believed to be a witness-intimidation shooting is getting her wish to leave a Buffalo nursing home for a wheelchair-accessible apartment.
Tara Hall said she credits Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., for getting her a new home.
The 48-year-old woman said she found herself at the end of a five-year waiting list for public-housing assistance and feared she might be indefinitely residing at the nursing home.
“He helped me get my Section 8 housing allowance. I’d already applied last year for it, but he put me on top of the waiting list,” said Hall, who was shot on the evening of Oct. 31 when a masked gunman burst into her second-floor apartment in the Zenner-East Ferry neighborhood on the city’s East Side.
She ran toward the kitchen to protect her grandchildren, who had just returned from trick-or-treating on Halloween, when a bullet struck the base of her spine. Since then, she has not been able to walk.
Authorities believe that the gunman was looking for one of Hall’s relatives, who had cooperated as a witness to an earlier shooting.
Schumer took an interest in her plight earlier this year when he came here to promote legislation that would make witness intimidation a federal offense carrying severe penalties.
“Tara Hall is a brave woman who has fought hard to return a sense of normalcy and independence to her life since the shooting last October, which tragically left her disabled,” Schumer said. “Since hearing her story, I’ve made Ms. Hall’s case a top priority and helped get her to the top of the list for a critical housing voucher.”
Even with the voucher, her problems were not quite over.
There were also long waiting lists for area apartments accessible to the physically challenged.
Again, Schumer and his staff interceded, finding an apartment complex in Cheektowaga where Hall was placed at the top of the waiting list and where just recently a one-bedroom apartment became available.
If all goes well, Hall is expected to move there in a couple of weeks. “I’m proud to have played a role in Tara Hall’s recovery; her resiliency and courage are an inspiration to us all,” Schumer said.
Being paralyzed and living in a nursing home have been difficult to come to terms with, said Hall, who in the past worked at small construction jobs at times to earn a living.
“I get depressed at times, but I try not to,” Hall said. “I read and try to do more for myself. I get in and out of bed on my own. I dress myself. I can even put on my socks and sneakers now.”
Her goal is to walk again.
“I still get burning sensations in my thighs, but it hasn’t moved down yet to my legs,” Hall said. “I’m hoping that someday, movement in my legs will get restored.”
Helping in her new start, she said, will be family members and a visiting nurse’s aide. Because her resources are limited, Hall appealed for donations to assist her in the move and in setting up her new home.
Donations can be sent to Waterfront Health Care Facility, Attention: Tara Hall, Room 237, 200 Seventh St., Buffalo, NY 14201-2161.