Sometimes, successes are not immediate. They take a few steps forward, and many steps back, with situations gradually improving over time. Changing the life you are used to living for years, even if it isn’t healthy, is hard to do. This was the case for Mark. Mark came to Goodwill in July of 2014, seeking help from our Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. Mark was a veteran, and he was homeless. We were able out house him immediately.
Drinking was all that Mark had known for years, and he wasn’t ready to give it up. So, he eventually received a three-day pay or vacate notice and left the property to live at the river.
In February 2015, Mark returned to SSVF, with a week of sobriety under his belt. He and his case manager came up with a housing stability plan. Mark kept a copy with him, to remind him the steps he needed to take to stay sober, stable, and housed. With the help of community partners like Transitions, WorkSource, the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, and Volunteers of America, Mark got into transitional housing and found a temp-to-hire job in a metal fabrication shop.
He didn’t stop there. After 20 years without a driver’s license because of DUIs, Mark took the required steps to get his license, buy a car, and get insurance. He paid off his back fines and cleaned up his credit. Goodwill provided Mark support every step of the way.
Mark’s temporary position at work became permanent after 90 days. He saved enough money for a deposit and couple of months of rent at his own place.
Mark celebrated one year of sobriety on February 13, 2016. He graduated from the SSVF program, but he still calls his case manager to celebrate his successes regularly. And he still clings to his housing stability plan, using it as a guide.
“Without the support of the people at Goodwill, I would still be down on the riverbank or dead in the morgue,” Mark said.