Second Step Helps One Man on Path to Independence

§ October 8th, 2010 § Filed under Success Stories § Tagged , , , , , , § No Comments

By Mary Hopkins, Case Manager at Second Step Housing

We have all hit roadblocks in our lives, right? Some are small…you find a way to get around them, over them, under them or even move them…a couple bumps and you are back on the road. Then there are times that we just don’t have the right tools to clear out a new path or perhaps we forgot how to use them. Sometimes, however, the roadblocks are too big, unmovable, overwhelming, or they just keep reoccurring.

Second Step Helps With HousingJohn was part of the last two groups. Roadblocks like health issues, being a single dad, lost job, poor credit, never enough money to go around, self doubt, and so on had kept him from moving forward. He felt like he was stuck in one of those turnabouts…his life was spinning round and round. He needed some help to slow down and start removing those roadblocks. He needed to believe in himself again!

That is where SecondStep Housing and the Family Self Sufficiency Program come in. FSS provides case management for residents in Vancouver Housing Authority’s Public Housing. Residents have the opportunity to participate in this 5-year program. While in the program, they, along with their case manager, work on identifying their goals and dreams. Next a step-by-step action plan is created to help them and their family move towards self-sufficiency. The Individual Training and Service Plan must include seeking and maintaining employment, but can also include things like getting a GED, starting a new career, education, on-the-job training, budgeting, credit counseling, physical and mental health needs, home ownership preparation, savings accounts, and so much more. Finally, the work starts!

Back to John…he started one step at a time working towards his goals. One by one those barriers that had been in his way started to look smaller and smaller. Accessing resources through our community partners (like the Community Housing Resource Center, Work Source, the Workforce Investment Act, IDA Savings, Columbia River Mental Health, etc.) made a big difference. Most importantly, once he got through that first obstacle, John started believing that it was possible to reach his goals. He found his motivation, and hasn’t stopped since.

John has been in the program for a little over a year, and has worked hard clearing away several roadblocks. He now has a job, is researching a new career, has cleared up 70% of his poor credit issues, got his mental and physical health back on track, has an IDA savings account, is earning escrow through FSS, and is in the process of purchasing his own home. Being a good role modeling has rubbed off on his kids—his son is back on track to get his GED and his daughter has started college! At this rate, John will graduate early from FSS with the tools he needs as he travels down the road of life.

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