At STEP, we understand the unique
challenges that military families face.
We hope these stories will inspire you to support our mission and
join us in helping those who have sacrificed so much for our country.
Jeffery, an active duty Navy E-6, with 18 years of service reached out to STEP after a referral from Navy Marine Corps Relief Society. He and his family of five had been focused on eliminating their debt by closely monitoring expenses, tightening the grocery bill and purchasing only essentials. This tactic was working! Then the transmission on the family's only car failed and he was uncertain how to pay the $2,000 repair bill and still stay on course for debt reduction. Working together, the social worker and the service member revised the family Personal Finance Plan with a goal to be debt free within one year. STEP provided the family grocery gift cards of $350, and a car repair grant of $2,000 to the auto shop on behalf of the service member.
Tyler, a Navy E3, and his wife, were determined to dig themselves and their family of 5 out of debt. Their efforts were nearly derailed when their car broke down during a visit to family in Arizona. They faced the daunting cost of towing their car back to San Diego. With a phone call to STEP for help, a Social Worker stepped in to offer guidance and support. The family created a personalized budget, tailored to their needs and financial goals. With a clear plan in place, the family was equipped to implement a strong savings & debt plan. STEP provided essentials, back-to-school clothes, and a grant of $2,477 to repair the car. With guidance from the social worker, the family stuck to their budget, built up their emergency fund, and continued to pay down their debts.
Kevin, a Navy E6 veteran found himself in a difficult situation. Due to a clerical error, his PTSD diagnosis was not recognized as combat-related, causing a delay in his disability benefits. With his wife's lower pay during the holiday season, the family fell behind on bills and struggled to make ends meet. Thankfully, there was hope on the horizon. STEP offered financial counseling with a social worker, who designed a personal finance plan that fit their needs. STEP issued a grant of over $7,000 to cover past-due mortgage payments, the SDGE bill, and grocery gift cards. The social worker also connected the family with additional community resources.
Kaitlyn, a military spouse, along with her 3-year-old and her 3-month old came to our office. Her only car was scheduled for repossession the next day, and their landlord just started the eviction process. At the moment we were talking, her husband was thousands of miles away operating a Navy ship. He had to sit there until his shift was over and then from the other side of the world, figure out what he was going to do. Do you think he was fully focused on his duties? We were able to assist this young mother. Our social workers stopped the loss of her car and home through emergency grants, but more importantly, they provided knowledge and helped her develop the skills so she could change her behaviors. She built a path where her family could enjoy a lifetime of financial self-sufficiency. If they are ready to change, ready to commit themselves to do the hard work, we are here to assist - because of your help.
Everything was going wrong for Carl, an E-4, and his family of five. He and his wife were devastated at getting so far behind…unexpected medical bills, car repairs, childcare costs, surging gas prices, and grocery bills, led to a broken budget and depleted bank account. Their deep concern over a mountain of debt and not knowing how to solve the problem eased after they spoke to the Social Worker at STEP. Carl, his wife, and the Social Worker worked in tandem to craft a plan that would turn things around. An emergency grant for car repairs of $750.00, a warehouse visit for groceries, personal essentials, and diapers relieved the mounting pressure. Carl said “Changing spending habits and sticking to a budget hasn’t been easy, but we both knew we had to make the commitment to stick to the budget. After six months, we could start to breathe again. Without the guidance and support from STEP, I am not sure what would have happened, so thank you!”
Chelsea, a young, pregnant service member and her active-duty husband, applied for financial assistance in December. Both were stressed as they couldn’t get through the pay period on their salaries and were behind with car payments, credit cards, and no savings for the arrival of their baby in June. As Chelsea & STEP’s social worker embarked on a deep dive into their finances, Chelsea was amazed to see where and how they were spending their money. Their lack of knowledge of managing finances landed them in this difficult situation. Knowing the family goals, expenses, and income, made it easy to help build a paycheck-by-paycheck plan to reach their financial goals. Secure transportation for her mom from Fiji to help with the baby, eliminate the high car payment ($645/month), and buy a home in 2024. Following their plan, within 12 months, they will have Chelsea’s mom in San Diego, will have moved to a 2-bedroom apartment, and paid off 100% of their debt. At 24 months, they will have up to $45,000 in their emergency fund.
*Names have been changed due to confidentiality