Posts Taged family-endeavors

Supportive Housing: Christian’s Success Story

When Christian arrived at Endeavors™’ Fairweather Family Lodge, Child Protective Services was involved with her children and she was in drug court due to a drug addiction.

She also had no bank account, a low credit score, a broken lease, six traffic warrants, owed money to the city, and had defaulted on loans.

Due to drug use, Christian had severe damage to her teeth and gums and invisible wounds from past trauma and untreated depression.

Upon arriving to the Fairweather Family Lodge, Christian had access to mental and dental healthcare a had a chance to re-bond with her children.

The Fairweather Family Lodge environment offered the family a sense of of safety and security, enabling them to heal from past trauma from domestic violence.

Christian says the shelter, support, and material help supported her in learning how to be a parent and enabled her to focus on being a mom. Part of that support was the group environment. By meeting others moms and children who had survived a situation like hers, Christian was able to see the road to improvement and the life she wanted.

“Addiction isolated me and FFL linked me with other families who were walking in my same shoes.”

Christian received care to fix her teeth and gums. She opened a new bank account, paid off all debts, and repaired her credit score. She was also able to begin saving and paying back her loans.

When Christian and her children left the Fairweather Family Lodge, they left to a home that she bought – one of her greatest accomplishments and one that had considered unattainable.

From Christian: 

“[Fairweather Family Lodge] has given me priceless gifts of healing and growth with my children. Together, we have come a long way emotionally and spiritually! A true fresh start from the wreckage of my past; 1,000 pound weight lifted off my shoulders. I have friendships that I didn’t know I needed and will keep all my life!”


Find out more about our Fairweather programs.

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Former Jubilee House reopening next year as Reveille Retreat

The Reveille Retreat home will house homeless Veteran mothers and children.

Fayetteville Observer | Nov 15, 2017

When female veterans walk through the doors of the new Reveille Retreat home in Fayetteville, they should feel cherished and energized.

That’s the vision of Travis Pearson, president and CEO of Family Endeavors, which renovated Reveille Retreat from its former shell of the Jubilee House on Langdon Street. The new home, which could open early next year, will have space for eight families, or up to 24 homeless veteran mothers and children.

“I want them to feel acceptance, I want them to pick up a sense of hope,” Pearson said. “By the time someone comes to this program, if you take a minute to think what they had to go through to get that down on their luck where they’re completely broke, in debt, homeless, kids are behind in school, to have a place where they’ll be able to get better at their speed and they’ll have practical, innovative resources to get there, it’s just a blessing.”

The home was built in 2011 amid fanfare as part of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.″ It fell on hard times and was vacant for awhile.

Family Endeavors, a local organization dedicated to serving homeless veterans, bought the home in 2016 with plans to use it and other properties to serve as transitional housing for veterans.

Earlier this year, the organization said it could take as long as three years to finish extensive repairs and renovations needed to reopen the home. They still need $400,000 to complete renovations that repaired water damage from Hurricane Matthew, handicap-accessible features and to bring structural safety up to standard.

The home features private bedrooms, handicap-accessible bathrooms, a communal kitchen and living space, an inside play area for small children and a garden in the backyard.

In addition to housing, Family Endeavors will provide case management, parenting education, mental health counseling, employment/education coaching and self-sufficiency skills.

According to the organization, $250,000 annually is required to run those programs.

The project was a priority for Family Endeavors because Pearson said he recognized a need to serve female veterans, which was the initial focus of the former home.

“It’s an honor to come in and pick up on the original vision the community had and keep it here and take it to the next steps,” Pearson said. “Women veterans have a place where they can catch their breath and get back on their feet, get their lives back together. It’s a blessing.”

On Wednesday, Family Endeavors opened the home for a sneak peek for community leaders.

Glenn Adams, chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, lauded Family Endeavors for stepping up to take over the home.

“You all stepped in when there was a critical need,” he said. “You invested. You invested in this community. You invested into the lives of people of this community and we will be forever indebted to you.″

Learn more about Reveille Retreat

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Veteran Navigator Program: Maurice’s Success Story

Maurice (“Max”) is a Veteran of the US Air Force and Hurricane Katrina survivor who has struggled with depression and homelessness. When he was referred to the Endeavors™ Veteran Navigator Program in San Antonio, Maurice was living in his truck after an eviction and other setbacks but quickly showed commitment to improving his life and building a new future.

The same day Maurice entered the Veterans Navigator Program he was moved into housing with food and necessities to help him transition to stable housing. Soon after enrollment, Maurice was approved for an apartment through one of Endeavors’™ long-standing partnerships with a local apartment manager. With the help of an Employment Specialist, he also began working.

Within months, Maurice secured a position at a car dealership detailing vehicles and his story was an example of success. After several months of working, he experienced another life-changing setback when his mother passed away and he became the sole caretaker for his disabled younger brother.

Maurice left his job to focus on parenting but continued moving forward, beginning his own mobile car detail business and enrolling in a local entrepreneurship program. To help his new business succeed and grow, the Navigators also helped him purchase the equipment needed to fit his vehicle with supplies needed to complete mobile detailing requests.

Eight months after joining the Veteran Navigator Program, Maurice now provides services to over 15 cars weekly, allowing him to sustain his apartment and continue to care for his brother.

Endeavors success story veteran homelessness navigator

Thank you to USAA and the Disabled Veterans National Foundation. Grants from these organization help to support the Navigator program and employment advancement opportunities for our Veterans.

For program information or if you know a homeless Veteran, please call 210-431-6466

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Community Based Services: Spencer’s Success Story

In January, the Community Based Services (CBS) team in San Antonio received a referral from Adult Protective Services to assist a 71 year-old client, Spencer, with housing. A Case Aid assisted him in filling out an application for housing assistance and connected him tot he local public housing organization. Normally, this was to be the point where our assistance ended, but it was only the beginning…
Spencer was unable to get in contact with his housing caseworker. Worried he would not be able to find housing by his deadline, Spencer began making regular visits to Endeavors™, biking or taking the bus, many days there first thing in the morning to greet our staff unlocking the door.

Whereas other local service agencies were not responding timely to Spencer, with heartfelt commitment to our mission, the CBS team continued to help Spencer beyond the original request received from Adult Protective Services. After several weeks of support and persistently advocating for Spencer, our Case Aid helped him find the perfect apartment.

Right before Spencer moved to his new apartment, he rode his bike to the office one more time and brought a box of donuts he had specially made for the Case Aid. Spencer was thankful that our staff had taken the time to work with him and had remained patient, but most of all he was grateful that he had been shown care and compassion.

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Retired gunnery sergeant provides supportive services for veteran families through Endeavors™

Retired from the military himself, Ken Becker now works to connect supportive services for veteran families with Endeavors™.

|March 2, 2017|
|The Globe|

To believe in people’s capacity to grow, to heal, to change, to succeed and to affect others around them is the motto Ken Becker lives by as the outreach and intake specialist of supportive services for veteran families with Endeavors™.

Becker, retired from the Marine Corps in December 2007 as a motor transport maintenance chief after 20 years of service. The former gunnery sergeant grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina and often reminisces about his childhood, growing up in a military community.

One of Becker’s favorite memories growing up as a military child was receiving tapes with stories from his dad, who would send them to him and his brother so they could hear his voice.

“My father retired from the Army and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. But I chose the Marines for the added challenge,” said Becker. “I enjoyed growing up in the military and the stability of it. Even if my dad was deployed we still had the military community to lean on,” said Becker. “I wanted my children to have that so that was also one of the reasons why I joined.”

Currently, Becker is responsible for conducting the initial eligibility screening of veterans who need assistance.

“I conduct outreach and networking activities in the community; such as seeking out and working with homeless veterans in shelters and in tent cities,” said Becker. “If they are eligible and wish to receive our help, I enroll them in the program. They are then assigned to a case manager who works with them while they are in the program. During their time in the program, veterans are assisted finding housing, employment, filing for benefits, registering for school, or whatever their goals might be.”

For Becker one of the most rewarding aspects of his job is running into veterans who they have helped get back on their feet. “Seeing the transformation is very fulfilling,” said Becker.

Becker credits the Marine Corps for his discipline and initiative, and chose Jacksonville to retire because this is where both of his children were born.

“We decided to stay because this is our home. I spent most of my active-duty time stationed at Camp Lejeune. This town is where my two children were born and raised,” said Becker. “My wife stayed here through my deployments and works here.”

His advice for young service members is to have a solid plan to fall back on and to set tangible goals.

“The most important step is making a plan. If you want something, find out the steps of how to get there and become something you can be proud of,” said Becker.

Endeavors™ is a national non-profit agency that provides services and practical solutions for families who have been torn by poverty and need crisis intervention.

The Veteran Services program offers homelessness prevention and stabilization services to veterans and their families. Services are provided to veteran families with very low income, veterans facing eviction and veterans who are currently homeless.

Our Jacksonville, North Carolina can be reached at (910) 459-4320.
Learn more about the services for Veteran families and counties served in North Carolina.

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Deployment Stress is a Family Matter

|Jan. 27, 2017|

|San Antonio Express-News|

When a soldier deploys, the burden of that deployment is carried by the family left behind. This can lead to post-deployment stress and secondary PTSD when those troops return.

“We know there is an equivalent to PTSD in children and spouses and this is a situation that carries through every fiber of that family,” Carmen Fies, head of the Center for Military Families at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The center held a panel Saturday discussing the impact of post-deployment stress on families after more than 15 years of war.

“Post-deployment stress really extends beyond the service member to the spouse and the children left behind,” one of the panelists, Kat Cole of Endeavors™ and the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic, said.

Endeavors™ offers free mental health care to veterans and their dependents. The clinic, operated in partnership with the San Antonio nonprofit Endeavors™, also treats spouses and children exposed to secondhand trauma and works to repair marriages and parent-child relationships.

Veterans almost seem apologetic when they call for help, Cole said. She said she’ll hear them say, “‘I totally understand if there are other veterans who need the help more than me.’”

Spouses and caregivers feel the same way, Cole said. They often feel their spouse is the one who needs help, while they’re on the back burner.

Family members, however, also suffer effects from deployment. Research shows a 24 percent higher rate of depression for wives whose spouse deployed for 11 months or longer. Another study found that almost 37 percent of the wives whose husbands were deployed were diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder.

For children, having a parent who has been for deployed for a total for 19 months is associated with decreased tests scores in school. One study found 33 percent of children between 5 and 12 with deployed parents had a high likelihood of developing social and psychological problems. In a 2011 report to Congress, the Department of Defense found a 19 percent increase in behavioral disorders among military children with a deployed parent.

The stresses are compounded when a service member goes to war and comes back wounded.

Dan Blasini, a panelist at the event and vice president of military affairs at Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital of San Antonio, works with veterans who have been wounded in combat.

The service member must learn to cope with their disability, even for common tasks. Family members often want to help with everything right away, but Blasini said he encourages them to step back at first, so the service member can learn their limits.

“The family has to know when to watch, when to help, when they need to intervene for safety reasons,” Blasini said. “That’s the balancing act.”

Fies said there needs to be more community awareness of the challenges facing military families so they can find help.

“The community as a whole needs to be aware of how to interact with military family members in productive ways, to know how to buffer these things,” Fies said.

Cole, a veteran, went through 11 deployments as a family. She said military families can easily get isolated in their communities. She said she sees in San Antonio efforts to see the issue as one affecting the whole family.

“More and more family members are coming out of the woodwork,” Cole said. “They’re thinking, ‘If I can take better care of myself, I can take better care of my family.’”

Read more from J.P. Lawrence
Reach more from the Military City, USA section.

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Point-In-Time Homeless Count in San Antonio | Photo Essay

Tommy Riester, was a homeless veteran for more than a year before finding Endeavors™ employee Teresa Estrada. Today he’s a volunteer in the annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count to help those that still are.

|Jan. 27, 2017|

|Rivard Report| |Photos by Scott Ball|

The Point in Time (PIT) Count seeks to determine the number of homeless people on the nation’s streets and in shelters on a single night. In San Antonio, more than 400 volunteers fanned out across the city to survey the homeless population.

The annual count is conducted throughout the nation in order for states to qualify for federal funds to assist the homeless population. It also is a way for nonprofits, cities, and law enforcement to identify more effective ways to address homelessness.

To view PIT Counts in San Antonio from previous years, click here.

On Thursday night, I was attached to an outreach group that included a San Antonio police officer, a volunteer who had once been homeless, workers from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, and volunteers from Family Endeavors Inc., a national nonprofit that provides services to children, families, veterans, and anyone struggling with mental illness and other significant disabilities.

ScottBall_PIT_Point_in_Time_Homelessness_Homeless_Population_SanAntonio_VA_Family_Endeavors_1-26-2017-1 ScottBall_PIT_Point_in_Time_Homelessness_Homeless_Population_SanAntonio_VA_Family_Endeavors_1-26-2017-4 ScottBall_PIT_Point_in_Time_Homelessness_Homeless_Population_SanAntonio_VA_Family_Endeavors_1-26-2017-8-e1485665395620

This year, the federally mandated PIT Count was conducted using a smartphone app, ‘Counting Us’, developed by SimtechSolutions, replacing the paper system used previously. The app was used to survey the homeless individuals we encountered. Volunteers gathered information on each person’s age, gender, ethnicity, years homeless, history of mental illness, and potential HIV diagnoses, among other things.

One member of our volunteer group, Tommy Riester, was homeless for more than a year after his wife dropped him off in front of the VA Hospital and left him. There, Riester tried to commit suicide five times. Eventually, the Navy veteran found a friend in Endeavor™ volunteer Teresa Estrada, who helped him transition out of homelessness. Riester, who suffers from severe PTSD, has been off the streets for a year.

When he was still homeless, he frequently visited Haven for Hope, a local comprehensive homeless shelter and transformation program. But Riester said his experience there was not positive, illustrating the complexity of issues facing homeless people. For some, shelters feel confining and unsafe, while for others, they provide a vital respite from the streets.

At Haven for Hope, an outdoor area called Prospects Courtyard functions as a sleeping space at night. Riester felt crowded in, “this far apart from each other sleeping,” he said, holding his hands approximately eight inches apart, “and everything’s getting stolen.”

Haven for Hope Outreach Manager Ron Brown said the facility provides lockers for people who sleep in the courtyard, and their use is encouraged. Two police officers are on duty until 11 p.m.

“[Theft] has gotten a lot better, but you’ve got to watch your stuff,” Brown said.

Brown said Haven for Hope has rules those who seek shelter at the facility must follow, but some find that difficult.

“It was a choice between being in there and having all these little restrictions,” Riester said. “It just doesn’t work out, and that’s why you end up with people out here.

“… People looked at me as a homeless person. They never looked at me as just an individual or that I was in the military, none of that,” Riester said of his past experiences on the streets. “I was a homeless veteran, but I was looked at as an alcoholic, a druggie, or in trouble with the law.”

View all photos from the 2017 Point-In-Time Count in San Antonio, TX. Photos by Scott Ball.

Learn more about Supportive Services for Veterans Families in San Antonio online or call 210-431-6466.

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USAA Pledges $1.3 Million to Help Combat Homelessness in San Antonio

Endeavors™ is one of six area non-profits receiving funds from USAA to combat homelessness in San Antonio. The news comes as the 2017 Point-in-Time Homeless Count is underway across the country.

|Jan. 26, 2017|

|The Rivard Report|

USAA officials announced Thursday that the company will contribute $1.3 million to help fight homelessness in San Antonio.

“The funds will be distributed among six area nonprofits,” South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH) Executive Director Bill Hubbard told elected officials and community leaders during the announcement at D.R. Semmes Family YMCA at TriPoint. “Those are the American G.I. Forum’s National Veterans Outreach Program, Haven for Hope, Salvation Army, Endeavors™
 SAMMinistries, and SARAH.”

USAA, the San Antonio-based insurance and financial services company that serves military members and their families, pledged $2.1 million last year in support of the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. In May 2016, San Antonio effectively ended local veteran homelessness by pushing a “functional zero” goal, Mayor Ivy Taylor said, giving all veterans access to permanent housing and rapidly stabilizing those on the brink of homelessness.

The funds announced Thursday will support homeless veterans and broader efforts for the general homeless population, officials said.

“The San Antonio Police Department is proud to be part of an eventual solution to the homeless issue here in San Antonio,” SAPD Chief William McManus said after thanking Taylor and Hubbard for their efforts. “I don’t know that any other city pays as much attention to it as we do here in San Antonio.”

USAA’s announcement falls on the same day as the annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Count of the homeless population in San Antonio and Bexar County, which is conducted by SARAH. More than 400 volunteers will count both sheltered and unsheltered populations from 6 p.m.-midnight Thursday.

The PIT Count, mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides data on the overall homeless population on a single night. It is conducted nationwide in order for states to qualify for federal homeless assistance funds. It also helps city and federal agencies, local law enforcement, and nonprofits like SARAH pinpoint effective tactics to address homelessness in San Antonio.

Since the Obama administration’s release of Opening Doors in 2010, the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness, homelessness has declined by 14%, unsheltered homelessness by 25%, and chronic homelessness by 27%.

The 2016 PIT Counts estimated a total of 549,928 homeless individuals nationwide, with 23,122 of them located in Texas. SARAH’s 2016 PIT Count reported that 2,781 people were homeless on a single night in San Antonio/Bexar County and 1,137 of those were unsheltered.

“From 2015 to 2016 San Antonio saw a decrease in homelessness population numbers but other Texas cities saw an increase,” SARAH Continuum of Care Programs Manager Katie Vela told the Rivard Report. “It was a slight difference, ours went down by about 100 [people].”

To read HUD’s 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress click here.

Although homelessness as a whole has decreased all over the U.S., SARAH staff told the Rivard Report that there has been a national and local uptick in young adult homelessness rates.

“In the last six months, 8% of all newly homeless individuals were between the ages of 18-24,” said SARAH Coordinated Entry Program Manager Luke Leppla. “What we are really hoping to gain from the PIT surveys is to see what is going on not just in San Antonio, but nationwide.”

This year, local organizers are utilizing a mobile app named “Counting Us” for the PIT Count. The app will record surveys as well as the GPS coordinates of where the survey was conducted, Leppla said. The gathered data will be sent to the TriPoint command center where it will be compiled on a big monitor with a map in real time.

“This is to get a sense of the geospacial distribution of the homeless in San Antonio, and the analysis parts come after,” Leppla said. “GPS tracking [helps us analyze] the concentration of people and what they have in common, but more importantly it will put some information in our hands as far as understanding different areas of town.”

Final PIT Count results will be available sometime in March, after Trinity University sociology students help scrub the data.

Read the full article here. Read more from Rocio Guenther.

Learn more about Supportive Services for Veterans Families in San Antonio online or call 210-431-6466.

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Annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count Takes Place in North Carolina

Endeavors™ staff in North Carolina participate in the Point-In-Time homeless count, part of a national effort for communities across the nation to obtain a 24-hour snapshot of homelessness.

|Jan. 25, 2017|

|Fayetteville Observer|

The community services manager for Cumberland County Community Development Department anticipates an increase in the area’s homeless population from this year’s Point-In-Time count.

“Due to Hurricane Matthew, there were many people who lost their homes. You have that number in addition to the existing homeless population,” the Community Development’s Dee Taylor said Wednesday. “Many of these are probably staying in hotels still. This point-in-time does not give us a complete picture of the homeless in Cumberland County. It just gives us a snapshot.”

A year ago, 515 people were counted as homeless in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

The annual Point-In-Time homeless count got underway at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. Regarded as “a 24-hour snapshot of homelessness” in the community, it’s being conducted through 6a.m. today.

Sixty-seven-year-old George Atkins, who delivered the morning prayer before the homeless were served breakfast at Operation Insasmuch, says this rudimentary count of the street people population in the area provides a service.

” ‘Cause I was homeless myself,” he said from his table. “You know someone has their ears open, anyway.”

The Point-In-Time count, typically held within the last 10 days of January, is part of a national effort for communities across the nation, Taylor said.

Just before noon, Michelle Blanding, the program director for Endeavors™, reported that the count “was going pretty well.” That nonprofit organization provides assistance to low-income veterans and their families in the Fayetteville area.

In Blanding’s case, the homeless individuals who already had been approached for information for the Point-In-Time count surveys had been friendly, she said. “They did it last year. They’re very open,” she added. “They do understand the need, and they do ask you why?”

The count is federally mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, especially for those agencies receiving assistance from the McKinney-Vento homeless program.

The overall number is determined through both a street count, with volunteers canvassing the streets, under bridges and at soup kitchens, as well as a service count, conducted by agencies that provide emergency shelter, transitional housing or permanent housing to those experiencing homelessness.

For the survey, individuals are being asked, “Where did you sleep on the night of Wednesday, Jan. 25th?”

Volunteers and service providers also use the questionnaires to obtain information on such things as their background, whether they have specific conditions, whether they’re military, and whether they are survivors of domestic violence.

Sue Byrd, the executive director of Operation Insasmuch, said this information on who is being served helps her organization apply for grant money. In some cases, she said, these records can be of help to law enforcement.

Homeless individuals do not have to give their full names: An identifier on the forms asks only for the first two letters of their first and last names.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to them. They’re not here to put you in jail,” executive director Gladys Thompson told more than 35 people waiting in line to eat a hot lunch at the City Rescue Mission.

A 50-year-old homeless woman, on hand at Operation Inasmuch, was among those on board with providing personal information for the surveys. She declined to give her name.

“Even the homeless community keeps up with each other,” she said. “We’re a community. Just as you have the upper class, lower class, middle class, you have the homeless.”

Staff writer Michael Futch can be reached at 486-3529

For more about Supportive Services for Veterans Families in Fayetteville, call 910-672-6166 or visit our Veterans Services online.

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Veteran Services: Shaunda’s Success Story

US Air Force Veteran, Shaunda Lohse, was discharged under honorable conditions after four years of service. After leaving the Air Force, Shaunda had many battles with her health, both mentally and physically, and had difficulty maintaining housing and providing for her family. Shaunda struggled with homelessness, having been homeless four separate times in her life. In 2011, Shaunda was featured on the Food Network show “Cupcake Wars,” but at home she was struggling to remain housed and maintain her bakery. Every day she battles anxiety and PTSD, which led to Shaunda voluntarily admitting herself to a psychiatric facility receive help. After enduring years of domestic violence and serving two years in prison for a wrongful conviction, Shaunda relocated to San Antonio where she lived in her car until she was housed by Family Endeavors.

Since enrolling in the Family Endeavors Veteran services program, Shaunda’s life has turned around. Shaunda has gained full-time employment and has also become coordinator for her church’s food pantry, helping direct the delivery of food to the elderly, fulfilling her passions for cooking and helping others. She now utilizes the VA for mental health care and attends church for social support. Shaunda is on her way to obtaining self-sufficiency by beginning to contribute to her rent. This December, Shaunda hopes to regain visitation rights to her children. Shaunda continues to strive to become a positive role model in the community and give back in any way that she can.

Learn more about our Veteran services and locations.

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