Navy veteran Giacomo Stellino was on deployment in Bahrain when he was injured while bringing ships to protect them from a storm. While he planned on being in the Navy for his entire career, he had to medically retire in 2019 when it became clear he could no longer do his job.
Without knowing when he would be getting his disability check, plus trying to get a job that would help support his wife Amanda and two children, Caralina, 5, and Dominic, 2, Giacomo was worried about what the future would hold.
He did his research and found the Operation Homefront Transitional Housing Villages (Villages) program and was accepted into the California Village in San Diego. At Operation Homefront’s three Transitional Housing Villages – in San Antonio, San Diego, and Gaithersburg, Maryland – service members and their families build strong connections with the other residents, and they participate in support groups, workshop, and individualized financial counseling to ensure their success as they move forward. Families do not pay rent or utilities on their furnished apartments, allowing them to reduce debts and bolster savings.
“The village gave me and my family the opportunity to sift through our options and see what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it,” Giacomo said.
After about five months, the Stellino family was stable enough to move forward. Giacomo wanted to make sure they were not taking up a spot that could be used by another veteran. They found a large house in the San Diego area that they are renting with another friend and a fellow transitioning veteran.
Giacomo said he feels like being able to offer space to friends is a way to pay forward the help he and his family got through Operation Homefront’s program.
“(Operation Homefront and their donors helped me and my family get through a very scary, very uncertain time in our lives,” Giacomo said. “And because of that help, we are able to benefit other people in a way that doesn’t take resources from others who might not have what we have. Thank you very much for giving us that opportunity.”