Matthew Zeigler, a 50-year-old Army Veteran, arrived in St. Louis in July 2010. Matthew was an unemployed truck driver from Hope Mills, North Carolina and came to St. Louis to explore the various programs available to Veterans. He knew no one in the St. Louis area. Matt went to the V.A.Medical Center and was referred to The Windsor Transitional Home (WTH) for temporary housing and assistance for homeless veterans.
Statistics from the Missouri Housing Development Commissions's Homeless Study 2009 indicates there are more than 100 homeless Veterans that have lost permanent residence in the city. Each year, programs initiated by the City serve homeless Veterans that have lost permanent addresses, who live more than 100 miles outside of the City of St. Louis as well as those who come from other states.
Ret. Sergeant First Class (SFC) Hence J. Forland, Jr., the owner of The Windsor Transitional Home, met with Matt and provided emergency shelter for him. He also provided bus tickets, offered use of the laundry facilities and transported Matt to the various places that offer resources for Veterans. Matt stayed at the WTH until he received a bed at the Sunshine Ministries, an organization that provides short-term shelter. The WTH continued to support Matt by providing him with additional resources such as the Centenary United Methodist Church for hot meals and The Employment Connection. The Employment Connection offers a four-day workshop for job placement, assistance with housing, legal & financial issues and more. Matt signed up for the workshops.
Meanwhile, Matt helped at The Windsor Transitional Homes' newly established garden, The Garden AMAN. He received financial assistance from Hence for the work that he did. The Garden AMAN is a place of fellowship for the homeless Veterans, Veteran volunteers and the community as a method of therapy. At the garden, Veterans can exchange experiences and enjoy activities together. Upon his completion of the workshop at The Employment Connection, Matt received a financial stipend and with the use of their resource center, he applied for a job at a trucking company in Illinois, The Schneider National Trucking Company.
The WTH continued to serve as a "point-of-contact" for Matt. When notified about Matt's job interview at the trucking company, WTH provided Matt with suitable clothes and transportation for his interview. With the assistance from the WTH and other agencies including the North County Veteran Center, Matt was able to secure a job at the trucking company. WTH's assistance did not stop there! The WTH also assisted Matt in getting his Commercial Driver's License (CDL) for his new job as well as helped Matt get other documents that he needed for the truck driving school. Hence helped him pack and transported him to the bus station. Matt was very grateful and excited about his life. On September 30, 2010, Matt left for Green Bay, Wisconsin for orientation. After successfully completing his training, he returned on October 26, 2010, to visit The Windsor Transitional Home and pick up his personal belongings…and his truck!
This story is just one of the WTH's successes. The WTH welcomes homeless Veterans in the St. Louis City area but is not limited in assisting a Veteran named Matthew from North Carolina! Matt sends his thanks to the people who have been there to help him, and he looks forward to being there for others. In Matt's words, "The WTH gave me hope as well as direction. Thank God for people like Hence Forland, the resources and people of St. Louis. I regained my self-confidence, got a hand up, not a hand out!"
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