Cesar’s Story - United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County
Cesar’s Story - United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County

Cesar’s Story

Finding His Direction in Life
  • April 12, 2024
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Cesar spent his days living in abandoned buildings or on the streets, unsure of what the future would look like. Houseless for years at this point, he found himself thinking that he couldn’t continue living like this much longer.

“I was in the streets; I had lost everything,” Cesar said. Every effort to make a change in his life was met with resistance from forces he had no control over. “No matter what I did, people would steal every little thing that I had. I couldn’t catch a break.”

Cesar felt like he was going nowhere. He knew he had to “do the right thing when no one is looking” but found himself surrounded by “toxic people” that disrupted his focus on changing his life. Already in his mid-40s when instability invaded all aspects of his life, he found his options dwindling with his age.

Cesar had been directed to various organizations to help with his situation but was skeptical that they could offer assistance. He kept running into barriers every time he put himself in the vulnerable position of asking for support. Finally, he hit a wall and couldn’t take it anymore.

“I told myself, what am I going to do? Am I just going to keep wandering around these streets?”

After being directed once again to United Way Safety Net Partner Haven for Hope, Cesar welcomed the support. Provided safe housing, he was eventually connected with United Way partner Restore Education, who would help him regain his identification and birth certificate and provide continuing education.

Cesar enrolled in job training and classes in mathematics, manufacturing and maintenance. The path was still not easy. “I went and took a test and I failed it. So I went to Restore and took math classes every day for six months. When I took the same test again, I got a 98,” Cesar added.

Today he works as an AC Technician and has his own apartment. A determined and focused individual, he needed the support of United Way Safety Net partners to break down the barriers that had stood in his way for years.

“When you are sitting there with no direction the older you get, the harder it is,” says Cesar. “There are less people wanting to help you. Thank the lord I have finally found my way. I don’t feel like no matter which way I turn that I am going nowhere anymore.”

The impact of an unexpected crisis can be felt throughout all aspects of life. Sudden loss of employment or housing has negative aftereffects that seep into an individual’s health and safety. Regaining stability can feel impossible as it can seem like every option a person has is the wrong one.

This is where United Way’s Strong Individuals and Families Impact Area and its partners step up to provide a helping hand. Providing job training, financial counseling, mental health support and other critical services can prevent individuals like Cesar from falling through the cracks.

Cesar is now living self-sufficiently with safe housing and a stable job. Most of all he has the peace of mind that his future is brighter and completely in his control.

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