Active Duty

It doesn't matter if they're serving our country overseas or right here on American soil. Our service members sometimes find themselves in emergency situations. Whether a family needs emergency food or assistance with unexpected car repairs, STEP is here to alleviate the financial strain associated with active duty military life. We provide emergency financial grants, not loans, to income-eligible active duty service members (Ranks E1 to E6) and their families regardless of the service member's deployment status or injuries sustained in combat.

Recently Discharged Veterans

In 2012 the United States Department of Labor projected more than ONE MILLION service members were going to separate from the military through the following five years, including those who are involuntarily separated. As the war in Afghanistan wound down and defense budget cuts became a harsh reality, many of our Nation's heroes transitioned back into civilian life with very little resources or support. Barriers in employment, education, and even affordable housing are just some of the many battles our separating service members have to fight. ​In honor of their tremendous sacrifice to protect our freedom, STEP offers emergency transition assistance grants, not loans,​ to service members who have been honorably discharged for 18 months or less (Ranks E1-E6).

Categories of Support

Auto Payments and Insurance: Assistance is provided to cover the costs of past due auto payments for a family's primary vehicle, or to recover a repossessed vehicle.​

Auto Repair: STEP partners with auto repair facilities throughout Southern California to provide towing, diagnostic services, and repairs for primary family vehicles, not to exceed the current Kelly Blue Book value.

Critical Baby Items: STEP provides families with essential baby items such as cribs, car seats, diapers, gently used clothing. Assistance is provided as retail gift cards and/or from in-kind donations received from the community.

Emergency Food: STEP awards retail gift cards for the purchase of groceries, in denominations based on family size, to sustain families during times of temporary hardship.

Emergency Travel: STEP provides limited travel assistance in the form of temporary lodging, and airline, bus, or train tickets or gas cards for bereavement or extensive medical appointments.

Major Appliances: Families may qualify for no more than two unused essential home items including refrigerators, stoves, washers/dryers, and microwaves.

Rent and Mortgage: STEP provides assistance with past due rent and mortgage payments of the primary residence for families with a solid sustainability plan.

Utility Payments: When there is a threat of disconnection STEP covers the costs of past due utility expenses for a family’s primary place of residence.

Browser Requirements: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or IE9 or higher.
Note: Family members may submit an application on the veteran's behalf. The veteran must reside in STEP's service area which includes the following counties: San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, or Imperial.
All former E1-E6 with a critical financial need are welcome and encouraged to apply for needed services. To ensure that STEP can assist our neediest clients, not all applicants will qualify for all or any services. We use standard operating procedures to make our final decisions. We encourage you to apply and discuss your unique situation with our case managers.