Category Archives: Client Stories

Single Father Finds Employment

“I am blessed and I am excited,” says Terrence. “I thank Room at the Inn for everything they did for me.”

Terrence, a single father with a four-year-old daughter, Taleah, was living with a family member until the home they were staying in went into foreclosure. From day one at Room, Terrence was determined to find a job. Previously employed as a landscaper, he planted flowers in front of Room’s building because he wanted to be helpful.

“Terrence is such a go-getter. He was very helpful with the other clients during his stay,” says Client Coordinator Angela Hamilton. “He has just the greatest personality and was very motivated to find a job so he can take care of his daughter.”

While staying at one of our night sites, McKnight Road Church of Christ, Terrence began talking with one of the volunteers who owns a steel company. Their conversation quickly took a surprising turn.

“At first, he asked me questions about how I got to the shelter, but then he started asking how I would get to work if I had a job … and it started to sound like an interview!” recalls Terrence. “We talked further and he offered me a job as a welder on the spot. Just like that. God is good and I am so grateful.”

The job offer came at the right time since Terrence was transferring to the Salvation Army’s Family Haven program. It is located just one block from Terrence’s new job. Also nearby is Taleah’s new daycare.

“Room paid for the first week of daycare so Terrence could start his job,” explains Program Director Valorie Ferlis. “He was in a real Catch-22 because he couldn’t get daycare unless he was working, but couldn’t commit to a job until he had a childcare plan in place.”

Angie plans to follow up with Terrence and his caseworker at Family Haven to help him obtain stable housing now that he has steady income. Terrence is thankful for all the help and support he received at Room and at the night sites.

“My experience here was great. The congregations were excellent — such good people that welcome you with open arms,” says Terrence. “When I get back on my feet, I want to give back because the clients need it just like I did.”

If you would like to help our clients with their resumes or online job searches, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Melanie Matthew at 314-209-9198 or mmatthew@divineprovidencesisters.org to find out more about our many volunteer opportunities.

A Home of Their Own

“It’s been a long year,” says Angela.

Angela had been staying with and caring for her mother, whose health was failing.  When she passed away, Angela couldn’t keep up with the mortgage payments. The home went into foreclosure. Having nowhere else to go with her three-year-old son, Chris, Angela called the shelter hotline. They stayed at a nearby shelter, Loaves and Fishes, for a few months before coming to Room at the Inn in June 2011.

“I was so worried about going to a shelter when I first called the hotline. I didn’t know what to expect,” recalls Angela. “We had such a good experience at Room at the Inn. People would ask me ‘how can you go to a different church every night?’ I would tell them, ‘you don’t understand — these churches are wonderful! The people there are really sweet and they take care of you.’”

While at Loaves and Fishes, Angela applied for disability. Since income is requisite for proving household stability, she waited for her disability application to be approved before applying for a housing program. Client Coordinator Angie Hamilton worked with Angela during her two month-stay at Room at the Inn before she transferred to the Salvation Army Family Haven – A Community in Partnership. Angela was eventually accepted into their Homes of Hope program, which provides permanent housing for homeless individuals with at least one child who has a disability.  Once her disability was approved, Angela took care of all her bills to make a fresh start. She and her son moved into their new apartment in March 2012.

“Chris will be four in May. He’s already in the Head Start program, which he began during our stay at Family Haven. He goes to school half a day and is doing really well,” says Angela. “Our apartment complex has a pool and Chris is really excited about that!”

The Homes of Hope program also offers supportive services such as weekly home visits, client financial assistance, food, household items and household furnishings.  Angela has a goal sheet and signed an agreement to complete the goals she set. The program requires clients to either work, volunteer or go to school to develop their skills and become self-sufficient. Angie recently visited Angela and Chris in their new apartment to see how they are doing. She was impressed at the progress she has made.

“Angela was an excellent client while she was at Room at the Inn,” says Angie. “It’s great to see her in stable housing after a year of shelters.”

Finding a Home

It wasn’t that long ago that Vivian didn’t have a place to call home.

“I was running out of options. Friends and family members would put me up for a few days or even a few weeks, but people want their space. I would find myself sitting in a parking lot and asking the Lord, where do I go now?” recalls Vivian. “Most of the time, He would send me to my daughter’s home.”

She stayed with her daughter for seven weeks before calling the shelter hotline. Unfortunately, there were no beds available at the time so Vivian stayed with another daughter.  From there, Vivian sought shelter at a church and the New Life Evangelistic Center, where she ran into a family member. She ended up staying with a cousin for three weeks before calling the hotline again.

In late November 2011, Vivian came to Room at the Inn and began working with Places for People Outreach Worker Emily Ludwig. Places for People serves the most vulnerable people in our community and is dedicated to providing innovative and effective mental health services. All of Emily’s clients are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and she provides short-term linkage, crisis intervention and referrals to other agencies in the area.

Emily immediately began looking for housing for Vivian and, in January 2012, was able to place her in a one-bedroom apartment with assistance from the Missouri Department of Mental Health in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County. Client Coordinator Angie Hamilton recently visited with her to deliver a few household items and see how she was settling in.

“The Lord told me this is my home,” says Vivian of her new apartment. “I have met some of my neighbors already and this is a nice neighborhood.  I don’t have a car, but I’m learning the local bus routes and can get around pretty good already.”

A former clerk for the federal government, Vivian plans to return to work. She is learning computer skills and Spanish, which she has been studying on her own for the past five years.

“I plan to build myself up by learning a second language,” says Vivian proudly. “It will certainly help to have it on my resume.”

If you want to partner with Room at the Inn to help clients like Vivian, please contact Site Volunteer Coordinator Melanie Matthew at 314-209-9198 to find out about our many volunteer opportunities. By working together, we can make a difference in the lives of the homeless in St. Louis County.

Client Moves into Permanent Housing

“You have to have faith and hope,” says Tywonne Nabors.

Tywonne became homeless when her husband, who had been the sole provider, lost his job.  Unable to pay her rent, Tywonne stayed with family and friends before coming to Room at the Inn on October 17, 2011. Her 17-year-old son could’ve come with her, but she decided to let him stay with friends so he could continue to attend a charter high school in the city. After reviewing her case, Client Coordinator Angie Hamilton nominated Tywonne for the Homes of Hope Permanent Housing Program offered through The Salvation Army.

Homes of Hope provides permanent housing for homeless individuals with a disability who have at least one child. The client must meet HUD’s eligibility criteria, have an income that will allow them to live independently and be willing to abide by the program’s rules and regulations. The program also offers supportive services such as weekly home visits, client financial assistance, food, household items and household furnishings. Her case manager will soon have housing for Twyonne and her family.

“What I like about this program is Tywonne will not only receive help with rent and utilities, but she will receive extensive case management to keep her on track,” says Angie, who also encouraged Tywonne to get a part-time job during the holidays to help pay down debt. “We also have some household items we can give her once she gets settled.”

Tywonne felt encouraged as well as supported during her stay at Room at the Inn. She especially liked having a goal sheet and working through it with Angie.

“Room at the Inn has been good to me. They lifted my spirits a lot and I found out more things about myself staying here,” says Twyonne. “I have a testimony to tell now. You learn from your experiences in life, good or bad. I’m looking forward to reuniting with my family and moving into my new home.”

We wish Twyonne well on her journey to self-reliance in 2012.

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