Building Back a Life After Service

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Ted arrived at the Mark Cooper House full of anxiety and battling mental health issues that have plagued him after serving in the Marine Corp and U.S. Navy for nearly 11 years. He was also struggling with physical issues as prior to his arrival at the Mark Cooper House, he lived in Florida and was struck by a car. This started his downward spiral, as due to his injuries he could not work and lost both his job and apartment.

After the Florida car accident, Ted moved in with his sister in Michigan to try and regain some stability but could not seem to get back on his feet. He continued to struggle with mental health issues and had difficulty keeping his life stabile.

Eventually, Ted moved out to Seattle and ended up homeless and in an emergency shelter. In his prior life, he had always been a hard-working, dependable man, but circumstances were now causing him to really battle to try to pull his life together. In the midst of all this, he was plagued by an anxiety disorder that frequently surfaced to burden him and seemed to be exacerbated by issues resulting from his car accident injuries.

The Veterans Administration referred Ted to Pioneer’s Mark Cooper House (Cooper House) in Seattle about a year ago and with help from counselors and case managers he has rediscovered his self-efficacy.  Ted has found a new purposeful outlook on life through his accomplishments and reintegration into the workforce. The Cooper House program provided him with the stability and resources to find a new job, save some money, work on his finances, and regain his confidence and a new sense of independence.  Ted's determination, diligence and willingness to grow have also allowed him to soak up and contribute to the strong sense of camaraderie that exists in the program, providing him with new ways to work through his anxiety.

During his time at the Cooper House, Ted has not only successfully worked at one job, but while working he applied and interviewed for a new job with better hours. Ted even got a glowing letter of recommendation from his old employer when he applied for the new job.  He landed the new position and started at it recently without skipping a beat! He has managed to save up a substantial amount of money by putting aside more than 10 percent of his income every paycheck. His ability to work and interact productively alongside his case manager in the program has led him to meeting and surpassing many goals that he set for himself.

Today, Ted is very proud that he has paid off all of his old debts since living in the Cooper House program and raised his credit score over a hundred points! With the help of his Pioneer case manager, Ted found a nice micro-studio in downtown Seattle and is now situated to move out in June.  He is also free and clear to follow his dream of purchasing and owning a mobile home using his VA loan benefits. Through hard work and a positive attitude, Ted has achieved success in moving from homelessness to self-sufficiency. He is a role model for other residents and a huge encouragement to everyone – including the staff!  

Ted’s resiliency and capacity to overcome all the trials in his life remind us of the importance of providing a chance for change. It is so rewarding to have the opportunity to make a positive difference in another person’s life by being there to compassionately facilitate their growth and support them in moving forward.