A Transition Made Possible

October 31, 2016

Rebecca has a college education, a great job in the legal field, and a duplex with her youngest daughter. It’s hard to believe that just a year ago she was homeless.

An Austin native, Rebecca was struggling to pay for college and decided to join the Army as a means to have her education underwritten in the 1980s. She was stationed at Fort Bragg and worked in Communications, spending two years deployed in Seoul, South Korea.

Rebecca said she never wanted to be stagnant. She was constantly taking classes toward her degree during her military service. While in the Army, she also got married and had her first baby. After nearly five years of active duty, Rebecca decided to transition to a career in government.

“I’ve always liked having a direct effect on state and local government,” she says of her career. Though Rebecca divorced and was a single mom of four, she always remained stable.

Two years ago, her stability took a turn when she moved to west Texas for what eventually became an abusive relationship. Early this year, Rebecca found the strength to leave. She came back to Austin, but she had nothing. She was homeless and without a job.

“It was so scary. I knew it was temporary and that I just needed to find a job, but I had no resources.”

She first went to the VA for help, who referred her to Caritas of Austin’s veteran program.

Rebecca focused her time on applying for jobs but was also just trying to meet her basic needs. She said it was hard sleeping different places each night, not having food, being separated from her youngest daughter, and having to board her dog.

Then Caritas of Austin called. “I started bawling. After that call, the wheels started rolling.”

Rebecca started a new job in May working in the legal field, which she loves. Caritas of Austin provided a financial bridge which helped her move her possessions out of storage, cover her first month and a half of rent before she got her first paycheck, and pay for outstanding utility debt that was preventing her from obtaining stable housing.

She also relied on the Caritas Pantry for food and toiletries in her transition period. “The Pantry was big for me. Caritas was one of the better places I could go to get quality food and toiletries.”

Rebecca can’t hold back the tears when talking about her case manager. “Maegan treated me with respect and dignity. She was kind, professional, caring, and available. There are people who come into your life for a short time but that you will never forget. She is one of them. We should have more Maegan’s in the world.”

She says Caritas of Austin gave her hope when she had none. “This agency has been the biggest blessing for me.”

Rebecca and her family are now closer than ever after the past two years of struggle. “My kids were so proud to watch me work my butt off to get back to where I am now.”

Because of you, Caritas of Austin has supported Rebecca and 220 other veteran families over the past two years in the goal to end veteran homelessness. Thank you!