Success Stories and Testimonials
Navy Veteran, Retired.
She came to Joan Sisco’s office at Veterans First Ltd. on May 16, 2014 ready to sleep in her car that night. We were able to get her into Mary Ellen’s Place (MEP) that evening, paid her deposit and rent for a couple of months. She got a job and was on her way to stability within 2 months. During her 2.5 years at MEP, she paid off $30,000 worth of debt and her credit score went from the 300’s to over 700. She recently moved to S. Carolina, has a job and will be buying a home within the next year.
Army Veteran of 6 years.
Came to Veterans First Ltd in June 2016 with nowhere to go. Veterans First was able to get her into MEP, paid her deposit and rent. While at MEP, she was able to obtain her VA disability and a good job. She bought a car and currently enjoys the stability that MEP provides. With her good job and VA disability, she was able to move into a larger apartment and assist her daughter and grandchild.
To any female in need of support:
When I first got to Marry Ellen’s place, I had just come from a whirlwind of negative experiences. I had become homeless and was relying on the help of another organization that cared more about grants then the veterans they said they would help. I had no money for the apartment and down payment, but Marry Ellen’s was able to get me into my own place right away. As soon as I stepped on the property, I felt a sense of peace I had not had in a very long time. My room was fully set up with everything I needed. I didn’t even have to go get toilet paper. Seeing that they thought of everything we would need made this place so much more than just studio apartments, it became personal. At 27, I am just now healing from a lifetime of extreme traumas and am in intensive counseling at the VA. Mary Ellen’s provides me with a soft place to land at the end of a hard day. Marry Ellen’s has provided me with support that I have needed to not isolate myself. I really feel like a part of the community because of all the wonderful events that happen here, like pot lucks from local churches. I feel safe at Mary Ellen’s, something that us female veterans haven’t felt in a long time.
I am an independent, fearless female Navy vet, so in January of 2014 I threw caution to the wind and moved to Phoenix with the promise of a job and adventure waiting for me here. Well, the adventure started but the job was no longer there. Within the space of a few months I was evicted from my apartment and if it hadn’t been for Mary Ellen’s Place I would have been living in my car.
I can’t thank Joan, Dana and the rest of the supporters and donors to MEP enough for saving my life and putting me back on the track to success and new adventures.
I would like to start my journey from the beginning where it all starts which is of course joining the ARMY to the transformation to civilian life with the good, bad, Veterans First and Mary Ellen’s Place.
I joined the Army in 2001; I went through all of my training successfully, traveled home with my head held high with an accomplishment of success. My family thought I was nuts, they even stated that “you will not make it because your too girlie for the Army”. Well it did not take long to prove them wrong. My first duty station was Hawaii I loved it then I deployed to Iraq. Not having a sense of what am I going into battle for? Nevertheless, I signed my name with no regrets for my country. I was scared out of my mind from the beginning of my tour Iraq for 12 months, also while in Iraq as well as my return from Iraq. Then I changed duty stations several times ended up in Texas where I deployed again buy only for seven months to Iraq. Still scared out of my wits but no so much as the first deployment. Then of course changed duty stations and I requested for Fort Polk, LA to be close to my family. Well that lasted a while until I deployed to Iraq but this time for 15 months. By now I’m just going through the motions but I must say it never got any easier when I deployed to Iraq. I went to my last duty station which was Alaska it was time for me to do an indefinite enlistment and then I will deploy to Afghanistan. I had to do some serious soul searching. I have been in the Army for 11 1/2 years but I followed my gut and decided to not re-enlist. Of course my higher in command was talking with me to try and change my mind but I just flat out stated” I will walk out on faith with my transformation to civilian life.”
I moved to Arizona where my journey really began to get a bit rough. I was under the assumption that my benefits would just start as soon as I get connected with the VA. I tried finding a job until I had to get on unemployment, food stamps. I went to several outside organizations for assistance with my rent, food, utilities. I tried getting help through some of the programs for veterans but you either have to be living on the streets or sick and knocking on deaths door before you can get any help. Now I am behind on my rent, my car gets repossessed, I just am overwhelmed with bills, so stress, fatigue, and depression starts to settle and all along I have no friends or family here in Arizona.
I said to myself I will not give up so I began calling every veteran assistance program online, on the telephone, references from other sources. I called Mary Ellen’s Place but got an answering machine and I left a message. The next morning Ms. Joan Sisco returned my call. I explained my situation and from then on my life did a complete turnaround. I was so impressed with the kind, friendly and selfless women at Mary Ellen’s. In about three days or so I was living in Mary Ellen’s. It all kind of happened so fast till I was in shock. I went from almost being homeless to a safe roof over my head, Ms. Mary Ann had a team to help me move, I was given help with gas, food, clothing, my rent for the first month until I get stability, car note, insurance just an abundance of kindness and support. I will state this which is from Mrs. Joan “We are here to help; we just want you to get stability and don’t stress. You served our country now let us serve /help you. If there is anything you need please let me know,”
Now this is where the transformation to civilian life turned around to a great new chapter in my life. While living at Mary Ellen’s place I feel a sense of peace and hope. I currently am receiving my compensation, have a wonderful job, attend school, love the church I attend, I now have friends and acquaintances thanks to some of the wonderful activities, outings, even gatherings such as Christmas which was amazing, at Mary Ellen’s Place.
The great part of all is that I am now stronger than I have been in a while. I have lived at Mary Ellen’s for a little over a year. I just let Ms. Joan and Ms. Mary Ann know that I will be moving out because this was a stepping stone for me to get the help, support and finances in order to become a better person in today’s Although I am leaving Mary Ellen’s it will always be my first home in Arizona and one that I know for a fact there is love, helpfulness and sincere compassion for military women. If there is ever a woman veteran in need of a home, all together assistance or even direction or guidance I will without a doubt recommend them to Veterans First and Mary Ellen’s Place.
My name is Dana and I have been at Mary Ellen’s Place for 2 ½ years. During my stay here, I have been able to stabilize my life, get my driver’s license, take care of all my legal issues, and build a huge support system.
I could not see a future for myself. My life now has a purpose, and I have great direction and all kinds of opportunities have opened up for me. The next step is school, and I have already have enrolled in humanities.
If you are struggling to fit in and find a new path, I would highly suggest Mary Ellen’s Place. It’s a great place for reinventing yourself.
US Army Vet
“I explained my situation and from then on my life did a complete turnaround. I went from almost being homeless to a safe roof over my head. I was so impressed with the kind, friendly and selflessness of Veterans First and Mary Ellen’s Place”
“They’ve made it very safe and comfortable for me to have my own place and stand on my own two feet. If Veterans First, the organization that founded Mary Ellen’s Place did not provide affordable housing and other services for women veterans, I doubt I would have reached my second year of sobriety.”