Stories

We are so proud of the transformations our residents make every day with the help of our staff, community partners, and supporters. To respect the privacy of the generous individuals who have shared their stories below, aliases may be used in place of their given names.

Carin

Carin spent her upbringing between Stamford and Bridgeport until she enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. After 9/11, Carin felt a responsibility to serve her country and joined the military. After 18 months abroad in Iraq, she returned to Rhode Island and continued to serve in the National Guard. While serving as a “part-time soldier,” she worked a variety of catering and restaurant jobs, but yearned for more stability than the food & beverage lifestyle offered.

By January 2015, Carin felt herself reaching rock bottom. She worked two back-to-back jobs as a Certified Nursing Assistant but—as a single mother with no support—was unable to make ends meet. When she received an eviction notice from her landlord, she packed her few belongings and moved back to Connecticut, where she found Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes.

Once she and her daughter settled in, Carin developed her personal service plan alongside her case manager and returned to school to complete her education. Meanwhile, her daughter enjoyed a safe place where she could read, watch cartoons, and play with positive female role models and other children.

Today, Carin is working toward her medical degree in respiratory therapy. Thanks to the stipend she receives through the G.I. Bill, she is able to maintain a home for herself and her daughter while focusing on her coursework. She is also pursuing her medical assistant certificate so that she can return to the workforce and provide an even fuller life for her family.

Patrick

Patrick joined the National Guard at only 19-years-old then transferred to the Marines. Having married his high school sweetheart and started a family at a young age, he believed that serving in the military would enable him to properly support his wife and daughter. In the service, Patrick trained to be a Military Police Officer and Sniper. Upon his discharge in the 80s, he found his calling in the security industry. He was able to utilize many of the skills he learned in the military while making a comfortable living.

When Patrick was laid off, he moved in with his ill mother as her full-time caregiver. After she passed away in early 2016, Patrick was shocked to learn that his mother had cashed in her life insurance policy, spent the majority of her remaining funds, and never officially added Patrick to her lease. Patrick was given 30 days to vacate his home.

Patrick found Homes for the Brave, which he credits with providing the support and stability he needed to regain his independence. Alongside his vocational specialist and case manager, Patrick prepared to reenter the workforce.

After a number of interviews, career fairs, job workshops, and coaching sessions, Patrick secured a full-time position as an Armed Security Guard. Once he was able to begin saving his earnings, Patrick moved into an apartment in Bridgeport. Within five years, Patrick plans to purchase a property of his own.

Sabrina

Sabrina retired from the military in 2008 after serving in the Army for twenty years. Upon retirement, Sabrina worked as a Budget Analyst for the federal government. She resigned from her post after two years, however, when she fell ill and needed to focus on her health. While in recovery, she learned that her identity had been stolen. Sabrina refers to this period as the moment when everything began to spiral out of control.

Her financial assets had been drained and she could no longer afford her basic living expenses. She lived with each of her parents for a while, but neither situation was sustainable. She stayed in hotels when she could afford to but on all other nights, she slept in her car or in the hospital, where she continued to seek treatment for her medical problems.

One night in 2012, a Bridgeport Hospital employee told Sabrina about a local organization that housed homeless Veterans. She looked for us in the phone book and before long, became one of the first residents in the Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes program.

Sabrina took full advantage of the resources that were available to her through FS:FH. The staff connected her with the appropriate resources to help repair her credit, recover her records, and save enough money to live independently again. She also secured an exclusive volunteer position at Sikorsky Aircraft and enrolled in college.

After a year, Sabrina moved into her own apartment. She said it can be lonely sometimes, but it feels good to be independent again. She is focusing on her fashion merchandise degree, and plans to pursue a career as a buyer when she graduates.

Carolyn

Carolyn enlisted in the Army in 1986 to provide a better life for herself and her children. She served active duty for five years and then served in the Army Reserves.

Civilian life proved challenging for Carolyn. She relocated several times and health issues made it difficult for her to hold down a job. She ended up in an emergency shelter. The counselor at the shelter referred Carolyn to FS:FH, and she moved in on December 26, 2013.

Alongside her case manager, Carolyn worked to improve her job skills, obtained a full-time job, saved her earnings, and was able to move into her own apartment after 14 months at FS:FH. Carolyn often refers to FS:FH as her “Christmas Present” because the program helped her reach her goals.

Charlie

Charlie grew up one of nine children in northern Maine and served in the U.S. Army from 1984 to 1986. He would have loved to continue his career in the Army, but life’s path led him elsewhere.

When Charlie arrived at Homes for the Brave in 2011, he was frustrated with his inability to find a job and found it difficult to ask for help. He had been raised to make finding a job his number one priority and had been working since he was 12-years-old. While at HFTB, Charlie was able to focus on his goals, manage his medical issues, and look for permanent housing.

In April 2011, Charlie moved to Waldorf House, where he had more independence but could still access the staff and resources at HFTB. He joined an employment program where he will receive more than 290 hours of training and practical experience for several in-demand career paths. Charlie is looking forward to moving closer to his goals and living his life with a healthier, more positive attitude.

Paul

Paul spent several months at Homes for the Brave during the past year. Previously, he was living in his car and attending Norwalk Community College as a full-time student. While at Homes for the Brave, this U.S. Army Veteran was able to save money, find permanent housing, and achieve his best academic semester. Today, Paul is completing his degree in Construction Technology and Architecture, and has become the first HFTB graduate known to purchase his own home in Bridgeport, Connecticut after leaving the program. Paul will be using his education and skills to renovate this hundred-year-old house.

Sam

Sam came to Homes for the Brave last year because he was “sick and tired of bein’ sick and tired.” Born in South Carolina and raised in Stamford, Sam was the only one of 11 children to graduate from high school. Later, he went on to the Westchester Business Institute for Business Management and later on to Porter & Chester Institute for Auto Mechanics.

He joined the U.S. Army in 1980, and as a cook, served nearly 2,000 troops while stationed in Hawaii. He also served with the 902nd Engineers and bridge builders at Fort Belvoir, VA and won the “Best Cooks in the Field” award for his Pineapple Upside-Down cake. In 1984, he got married, had kids, and went to West Germany to serve with a field artillery unit for 18 months. He received 2 honorable discharges for service.

Things started to get rocky during the 90’s when Sam lost his father, started drinking, and got divorced. He moved to Waterbury where he was in and out of jail and lived on the streets. He finally got his life turned around in 2010, after going through a 21-day program and with the help of a mentor. Sam now attends church and reads his Bible regularly. He also volunteers with the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) Program and looks forward to taking entrepreneurial classes in the near future.

Roger

Roger enlisted in the Army at the young age of 18, served for three years, and was honorably discharged. After leaving the army, Roger struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction, which led to his incarceration for 13 years. It was not until Roger was unemployed and sleeping in his car that he decided it was time to get help. After completing a 21-day substance abuse treatment program, he found Homes for the Brave.

When Roger entered Homes for the Brave, his only source of income was a small Social Security disability pension. HFTB helped Roger find part-time construction, which soon led to full-time employment. Not long after, he gave up his disability pension. Roger began working for Homes for the Brave and because of his excellent work ethic, he was offered a full-time position as House Manager. Roger helps residents by sharing his own experiences as a way to inspire others to continue on their journey of recovery from substance abuse and mental illness.

Today, Roger has moved into his own apartment, remains clean and sober, and has maintained a steady job that he thoroughly enjoys. Inspired by his love for his work and by his own experiences, Roger is preparing to go back to school to study Human Services.