Member Spotlight: Dori & Ricki Rivera Story

Dori & Ricki Rivera Story (husband & wife)

“Thank you Step Up-we won’t ever have to be homeless again; that part of our life is over!” 

Dori and Ricki have walked hand in hand in marriage for nearly 30 years and together raised four children, two of whom pursued service to the military. Ricki served in the Air Force for four years working on aircraft fuel systems. After the Air Force, he ran baggage crews for 13 years, all while struggling with physical disabilities and mental health challenges. Regardless, he continued to persevere and overcome every obstacle he encountered.

Ricki changed jobs and worked in security for several years before relocating to California. Once in California, Ricki attended ITT and began working in Irvine. The family tried to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck, but eventually hard times overtook their situation, and they began to experience homelessness. Feeling lucky to have each other, they lived in and out of shelters until they finally found permanent supportive housing and wraparound case management services through Step Up where their lives changed.

Ricki and Dori now reside at Heroes Landing with other Veterans and enjoy giving back to the community. “Step Up is wonderful! The best part of Heroes Landing is that we have somewhere safe and stable to live.  It’s been life changing.” 

It’s very hard being homeless, now we have a home and people from Step Up…  We love living here, and the comradery of living with other Veterans is really comforting. It was surreal walking into our home. It was so wonderful to have such a beautiful new apartment and new dishes, silverware, cooking utensils, a microwave, and a refrigerator.  Everything we could ever need!  Step Up and the staff thinks of everything we need. My wife and I grow vegetables and herbs in the garden, and the staff put on barbecues, taco nights, and food trucks come here.”

Ricki still has hopes to obtain his master’s degree in electrical engineering. In the meantime, Ricki and Dori both prioritize serving others as well as fostering a welcoming and neighborly environment. They both love gardening and are actively involved in the Gardening Club, which provides fresh vegetables and herbs for their meals. Ricki prides himself on looking out for his fellow neighbors and Vets. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Resident Advisory Committee and makes a point to invite other residents to get involved in the community.

Thanks to the support from donors like you, Step Up is able to change lives and make dreams a reality! And as Ricki puts it, “We could not do this without you!”





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