Steven proudly served his country for more than nine years, enlisting in the U.S. Navy when he was 17. He served two tours each in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Rising to the rank of Second Class Petty Officer, he oversaw 30 cooks and was responsible for feeding 3,000 servicemen and women four times a day. He also saw conflict while transporting Marines and Special Forces into war zones.
By 2006, after completing four tours of duty, he began experiencing anxiety and paranoia. "I didn't know what was wrong with me," Steven explains. He said as the symptoms escalated, he turned to the only thing that seemed to help. Steven now knows that marijuana was a self-medication for the paranoid schizophrenia he would later be diagnosed with, but didn't realize it until he reached rock bottom. Unable to work, he found himself homeless and destitute until entering a VA short-term residential and recovery program. Steven then transferred to Community Hope's Hope for Veterans®
Program where he now works at an on-campus cafe and receives wrap-around services. As he plans to graduate from the program, Steven's case manager will be helping him search for his own apartment. Today, He is optimistic about his future and hopes to pursue a college degree.
"A Link to Ending Veteran Homelessness"
appeared in the September/October issue of the national publication of the Disabled American Veterans' magazine and is featured on DAV's website.