Air Force Vet Credits Haven for Giving Him Purpose

DevLynn is an only child. When his parents needed help and care as they aged, he knew he needed to be there. “I signed that paperwork the day I was born. They raised me, took care of me, I needed to be there for them.”

DevLynn cared for his parents and after his grandmother and parents passed away, he lived off his inheritance. Until the lease was more than he could afford. “I couldn’t sign the lease. I couldn’t stay there anymore.” DevLynn took his belongings and lived in his car. His car was paid for and if it was running, he had a place to stay. Then his car broke down. He couldn’t afford to retrieve it after it was towed. He didn’t have a valid ID. “All I had was my D214 military ID, it doesn’t have a photo,” he explained.

DevLynn relied on his support system to help him for a few months. But without a job or the money to keep paying for his stuff in storage, he knew he needed more help. His friend helped him get his valuables out of storage, including his father’s ashes. “That was very important to me.” As an Air Force vet, he didn’t fully understand the benefits he had earned. His friend dropped him off at Haven for Hope and he began working with the Veteran’s team. “I’m working on getting my identity back, I’m enrolled in VA health benefits, I have my VA ID card, I’m working on my income and housing plans.”

He thanks the team at Haven for giving him direction. “I didn’t know what to do, where to go to get help. The team worked with me. If I have a bad day, they pick up me up and tell me to stick it out.” It’s important for DevLynn to transform his life. “I don’t want to fail. Even though my parents aren’t here to see this, I don’t want to disappoint them.” He believes it’s a privilege to live in the United States and he is glad he served four years in the Air Force. “Serving in the military helped me understand the freedoms we have.”

He is willing to take any job that will provide a steady income. He owes his progress to his support system, especially his case manager, Jose. He said Haven for Hope staff will point you in the right direction, but he must do the work. “Thank you, Haven for giving me direction. Thank you for giving me purpose.”

To hear from DevLynn, click here!

Tanavita – Overcoming substance use and mental health barriers

Tanavita came to Haven for Hope for one purpose – to get help with her mental health. Tanavita grew up in a loving family. She was raised in California and “never wanted for anything.” She recalls family trips to Disneyland and the beach.

Tanavita is like many of Haven’s clients. She suffers from depression and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. When possible, she took the proper medications, but when things would get rough, she self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. She moved around a lot and eventually moved to East Texas when her sister asked her to come and live with her. While at her sister’s, Tanavita got a job but was very lonely. Her depression worsened.

Her Mom and daughter had moved to San Antonio. Tanavita knew she wanted to help care for her Mom, but she needed to get her life back on track. Tanavita turned to Google and found Haven for Hope. Haven is the second shelter she has been to. She came with the goal to get the proper medication for her mental health conditions and learn to become a part of society again.

“I am a willing participant. I follow all the guidelines,” she said. “I have utilized the Clinical Services, Income and Skills Development resources and landed a job within 22 days.” Staff at Haven have suggested that Tanavita become a peer support counselor.

Click here to hear from Tanavita and her experiences at Haven for Hope.

Safe and Stable Home – Jenifer’s Story

Jenifer was only at Haven for Hope for a couple of weeks, but she participated in several classes and accessed numerous resources for herself and her twin 6-year-old grandsons.

“I didn’t want to be here, but we didn’t have a choice,” Jenifer says of her brief experience at Haven. She and her grandsons were staying with family friends and moved around a lot. “It wasn’t ideal for my grandsons. I wanted better for them.”

She had filled out an application at the rental complex where she wanted to live. “They told me it was going to be 6 to 12 months. I had to do something.”

To hear Jenifer’s testimonial: Click Here

Armando is Grateful for Haven for Hope

Meet Armando. He is a US Army Vietnam Veteran who never asked for help in his 72 years.

Armando’s livelihood was stopped short when the pandemic hit the United States. He and his business partner would travel the state of Texas selling antique car parts and other rare finds. Shows were postponed and canceled. Armando was forced to live on his savings for two years.

The savings ran out…Armando needed help. He found Haven for Hope.

Click here to hear his testimony.

College Dreams and a Story of Transformation

During the 2008 recession, Alex’s parents lost their jobs and went through a separation. They came to Haven for Hope. The stress and reality sunk in. Alex’s mother worked with case managers and worked on a plan to transition into stable housing.

Here is his amazing transformational story about hope, and fulfilling his dream of attending college.

Ashley’s Transformational Story

Ashley endured emotional, verbal, and physical abuse from her immediate family and in her marriage. She wanted to make a change and came to Haven for Hope. Ashley utilized several of Haven’s resources including counseling, parenting classes, and housing assistance. Watch her powerful transformational story.

Secure Future

Jerry Bauer

“This wasn’t supposed to happen to me!” said Jerry Bauer.  Raised in a military household, he understood hard work and rules. He attended college in Ohio, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree.  For 28 years, Jerry ran a lucrative auto detailing company in Miami, Florida. He was successful and had the financial means to run with the “fast” crowd, which led to a life of addiction. After Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, Jerry moved to Texas to be closer to family and started over.

He was evicted from his apartment in San Antonio due to drug possession. Jerry was one of the first clients to enter Haven for Hope and was given a bed in the men’s dormitory. He worked with a case manager and was back on his own in a short time. However, Jerry did not fully appreciate his addiction and found himself evicted from another apartment,  and back at Haven for Hope for the second time.

This time at Haven for Hope, a 12-step program helped him address his addiction.  Jerry worked hard to save money and vowed that he would not return to Haven for Hope as a client ever again. Today, Jerry works as a security supervisor at the San Antonio Library.  Since the library closed, due to the COVID-19 crisis, he needed to find a temporary job.  He is now working security at the hotel secured to house some 300 Haven for Hope clients.  Jerry readily shares his story and lessons learned with clients at the hotel, along with words of encouragement.

Running the Road to Recovery

Rudy Meza, arrived on the Haven for Hope campus in June of 2018.  He entered the Center for Healthcare Services’ Integrated Treatment Program (ITP), offered on the Haven for Hope campus to work through issues with trauma and drug addiction.  Addiction caused rifts with his mother, Kim, and three sisters, Mirna, Noemi and Lizette.  Now Rudy is part of Next Right Steps (NRS).  NRS is a sober living program provided on the Haven for Hope campus by the non-profit Pay it Forward and this is where Rudy currently lives while working on his recovery.  Rudy initially joined the Street2Feet program because of his competitive nature.  Soon after entering the training program, the competitive aspect became secondary to the therapeutic benefits he received.  Spurred on by encouragement from the Street2Feet community, running became the cornerstone of his recovery.  Discipline, setting reasonable goals, and putting one foot in front of the other, even when unmotivated to do so, bolstered his efforts to be a better man.  

As Rudy put it, “nobody comes to Haven on a winning streak,” but having reinvented himself through running and becoming “more than he thought he could be,” he is sharing the secret of his success with peers in the NRS program.  Where new faces might lack self-confidence, he is providing support and encouragement, just as the Street2Feet community did for him.  Rudy now works in a customer service role which has given him skills he can use in many roles. This employment opportunity also offers Rudy the resources to manage finances and will eventually assist him transitioning off-campus. 

After only 6 months of training, he completed the 2018 San Antonio Rock’n’Roll half-marathon.  Rudy is especially proud to have reunited with his family and baby sister, Lizette, who crossed the finish line with him.  Rudy’s story highlights how collaboration with partners helps Haven for Hope clients transform their lives.  

Chance Encounter Saved His Life

Tod Michel

Before coming to Haven for Hope, Tod was alone, homeless and addicted to both drugs and alcohol. His family had all but given up on him.  A chance encounter with a Haven for Hope Jail Outreach staff member helped him transform his life and become a person he can be proud of today. 

Through counseling, Tod learned that the things he did as an adult were a direct reflection of the trauma he suffered as a child.  He cannot recall a day is his childhood where there was no abuse of some sort-mental, physical or sexual. Self-medication with alcohol and drugs was his coping mechanism all his life. Haven for Hope facilitated his ability to understand and cope with complex trauma and move forward.

“Anything you need to get back on your feet is here at Haven – employment services, counseling, and more.” Then put his name on the right-hand side instead of stated Tod.

Today, Tod is a Residential Support Specialist in dorms that serve some clients on the Courtyard at Haven for Hope. He shares his own recovery experiences with them as they contemplate taking the first step in their journey.  “Anything you need to get back on your feet” is here at Haven- employment services, counseling, and more, stated Tod.  As he stated, “I get to come to work every day”, and the work I do is making a difference in my life and the lives of others. Happily, he has a good relationship with his family, once again, and gets to see his grandchildren regularly.