Support The Enlisted Project

Support the enlisted project 2

Shame, fear, anxiety, frustration… these are the feelings so often felt by families facing financial crisis. As a result, they often hesitate to seek help, until they are desperate.

Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) was designed to bring a permanent end to food insecurity, homelessness risk, and other social crises experienced by military families facing financial crises. With the 8,000 families STEP has served nationally, the program proves 90% effective at helping them end food insecurity, homelessness, auto repossessions, utility disconnections, while reducing mental and physical health stressors, preventing suicidal ideations and alleviating generational poverty.

We know that every family situation is different, as are the dynamics of every financial crisis. This is why each family that enters STEP’s counseling program works one-on-one with their professional social worker, who is also certified in financial counseling and possesses first-hand knowledge of military life. This social worker spends 20-30 hours with each family to facilitate this program that leads to behavioral change. The families focus on their strengths and their goals, create their financial plan, and develop ownership, setting themselves up for a lifetime of financial well-being.

STEP’s program is not a band-aid, it is a permanent solution to crisis situations. In addition to the counseling, it also provides immediate emergency financial payments to creditors to restore or retain basic necessities, and long-term support to ensure that clients don’t experience financial crises in the future. STEP has issued $2.6 Million in emergency payments, where only 3% of families benefiting from such payments have returned needing additional funding later.

STEP was created 11 years ago by a group of Veterans. As these founders intimately knew the family, mental, work, and financial challenges associated with serving in our Nation’s third most deadly occupation, they were drawn to creating a solution to help our young military and veteran families solve a problem that plagues most Americans, poor financial habits.

Curtis, an E6 Navy Sailor, and Monica struggled for years in financial crises, but felt they could never get ahead and were losing hope. When they ran out of food this time, they reached out to STEP. Working together with their four teenage daughters and their STEP social worker, Rena, the family was re-empowered and helped to create solutions. They developed their Personalized Financial Plan to meet their specific goals. After making their finances cash-flow positive, their plan included paying down the last of their debt and saving for retirement. STEP also provided emergency food and grocery gift cards to get them through this tough spot.

At their three-month follow up, Curtis and Monica reported they had cut their expenses, were staying on top of their bills, and had paid down most of their debt. Curtis shared with GB Magazine, “I felt like every time I would dig myself out of this hole before, 10 pounds of dirt was thrown back in. Now, this shows me our progress and that we can do this. Thank you so much for helping us and for shining a light through a very dark tunnel.”

The demand for STEP’s services is greater than ever. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, STEP’s expansion is largely dependent on the support of San Diegans who believe in our mission. We invite you to join. To get involved, please visit:


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Esteban Villanueva