How is SOME Changing Lives in Our Community?
After five years of service in the United States Marine Corps, Robert, his
wife Sarena and their two young daughters became homeless. “It was
really hard,” Robert says, lowering his eyes as he recalls trying to care
for his family during that painful and frightening time.
The Veterans Administration referred Robert to SOME’s affordable housing
program for homeless veteran families. Robert’s family was quickly placed in
their own two-bedroom apartment at Fendall Heights.
“Living here is a great opportunity,” says Robert, “a great stepping stone.
I can stick a key in my own door and open it, and close it. I like a structured
environment and this is a structured environment. I love the fact that there are
multiple cameras around the building to secure the facility. Us veterans like
Robert adds: “there’s multiple resources here, like after-school programming, day care referrals, job supports — they help you with job search, resumes, schools for adults — the resources here are endless.”
Robert and Sarena believe that, with the structure and support that they have
at Fendall Heights, they will be able to achieve their goals. “Our main goals are
to have stable jobs and purchase our own home,” says Robert. “I’m currently in
the process of training for a career as a chef, so I’m working on that.”
“Before I went to SOME, I was working temporary jobs in warehouses, doing clean-up on construction sites, stuff like that. There were a lot of lay-offs, and I got really frustrated. One day, I happened to be walking past the SOME Center for Employment Training and saw lots of people with student ID badges standing out front. I went inside to check it out and went through orientation. Then I started as a full-time student in April and graduated last October.
[At SOME CET] they were there with me the whole way through. I learned framing, sweating copper, soldering — things that I’m doing every day now on my job. Before I went to SOME’s job training, I kept failing the GED, but having math tutoring every week helped me finally pass it. I got my GED in December.
I work for a plumbing contractor and am working on plumbing, gas, sewage, drains and lines for the new movie theater and outdoor eating area at Montgomery Mall. I also have been installing toilets and sinks. The job is going great.
All of my life, nobody has had my back. And everybody needs that, even as an adult. I never had nobody. At CET, it was like a family. They have your back all the way through.
Rebecca [my Employment Retention Specialist] talked to my boss last week and he said: ‘He’s doing good.’ That’s all I need to hear.”