Finding Home Again: One Veteran’s Life Transformation
Last Updated: 29 Dec 2021
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Determined to get his life back on track, Army Veteran Karl Plummer proved that incarceration doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
When Karl Plummer was released from a 17-year prison sentence, he knew he wanted to turn his life around. An honorably discharged Army Veteran, Karl knew what it meant to work hard, to stay humble, and to believe in something.
In other words, he knew incarceration wouldn’t be the end of his story. “I spent [those years in prison] planning on how to get back on track with a second chance and a new life,” said Karl. And that’s exactly what he did.
A Long Journey
Unfortunately, the start of the road was paved with difficulty. He was able to stay with family in New Braunfels for several months, but the home was crowded. He wanted to find a place of his own. However, even though he had found a steady job, the cost of an apartment was still too high.
He turned to the VA, who promised him help, but the COVID-19 pandemic hit soon after, and the aid he was originally promised fell through.
That’s when Karl was connected with our Veteran Supportive Services, an Endeavors program that rapidly re-houses and prevents homelessness among eligible Veterans and their families. In August of 2020, during the height of the pandemic, our offices set out to connect him with a case manager to help him find housing.
“I called Endeavors and they were so polite, considerate, and so positive. As long as I could gather the necessary paperwork, things would all work out. Just a few days later, my case worker Juliana Barnes made contact.”
Karl says that, from the first call, Juliana made him feel like she really cared. “She built my confidence by ensuring that I was on the right track and that Endeavors would help me get my own place. That, together, we would set my feet on solid ground.”
“I knew this was a place that wasn’t going to let the virus stop them from helping someone in need,” said Karl.
Finding a Place to Call “Home.”
Juliana Barnes quickly went to work contacting the only apartment complex in Karl’s area that his budget could afford. The catch? The apartment complex had very strict rules about criminal background. Thankfully, Juliana had worked with them before. She advocated for Karl to the apartment manager, who agreed to meet with Karl in person.
Karl so impressed the apt manager that she agreed to let him move in. He remains at his apartment and has been prompt to pay his rent and bills on time!
Karl says that, even after moving in, he felt supported by Endeavors. A few days after moving in, his Endeavors “Welcome Home Starter Package” arrived: kitchen utensils, cleaner products, dishes, toilet paper, and a queen size bed, sheets included.
“I felt like a kid on Christmas day. I had a home. Not just a place, but they made it home that quick,” said Karl.
“Their help doesn’t end there. It’s A 90-day program. And Ms. Barnes and I talk at least once a week. She makes sure I don’t need anything. She isn’t just my counselor, she’s my friend.”
A New Life
Karl has since increased his income by getting steady raises and now is a foreman at the warehouse where he works. He purchased a car and Endeavors assisted with car repair. He is housed, employed, and has a vehicle that is completely paid off!
Not only has Karl thrived on his own, he has also paid it forward. He has been volunteering to work with the homeless in downtown San Antonio on his own time and volition. He and a friend made packages to hand out to the homeless during the Holiday season last year.
Karl never ceases to impress that he is grateful for the opportunity to be helpful as he is grateful for the assistance that he received.
“I want to say Thank you to Juliana Barnes and to everyone at Endeavors,” said Karl. “I know she doesn’t do it alone. And I want to recommend Endeavors to those of you who qualify. This is an organization that really cares. That goes above and beyond in their assistance. It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up. And I won’t let them down. I’m now a solid member of society again. Thank you, Endeavors!”
Veteran Supportive Services
We have found that, when we can connect Veterans to the right social services, they thrive in ways they could never have imagined.
Everyone can be a highly functioning member of society when given the right tools, and our Veteran Supportive Services program is the perfect place to start. This program includes case management, emergency financial assistance for rent and utilities, job placement assistance, parenting programs, skills workshops, and more at low-to-no cost. From there, we’ll determine the next steps. Which could mean connecting the Veteran and their family members to high-quality, accessible, and integrated mental health care via The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Endeavors®, supportive employment assistance, or several other services.
When our office is closed, and you need immediate support, you can still speak to a peer at Vets4Warriors.In the event of a mental health emergency, please refer to the following resources: 9-1-1, the National Veterans Crisis Hotline (800-273-8255, press 1), National Women Veterans Hotline (855-829-6639), the CHCS Crisis Line (210-223-7233), and the San Antonio Police Department Mental Health Unit (210-452-3042).
Endeavors is a longstanding national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.