“You can get out of homelessness if you use the tools that are available to you.”
Peter Moorman, an Army veteran, overcame chronic homelessness and 30 years of substance abuse to become the Program Coordinator at Veterans Helping Veterans Heal a 24 bed transitional housing program for homeless veterans. Prior to being homeless Peter worked and lived in Greensboro, NC where he owned a home as well as other properties. Unfortunately, alcoholism caused Peter to lose his home and his job. While homeless Peter continued his substance abuse but he no longer had the financial resources to support it. Since he did not have the confidence to panhandle he frequently appeared at the “Catch-up Corner,” a place where people would stand to find day labor and odd jobs. When he had money, he sometimes rented motel rooms, but quickly he took to sleeping in places such as cars and abandoned buildings in order to spend all of his money on alcohol. For a short period of time Peter traded in alcohol for marijuana, but after three years he returned to drinking. After some time living like this on the streets, Peter enrolled himself in a treatment program in High Point, NC. Peter’s counselor recommended that he attempt “controlled drinking” because Peter had been so disruptive to the class. At first, Peter though this was the “secret of the ages.” . However, he eventually realized that control drinking did not work for him when he “fell into a dark dark black hole equivalent to hell,” as he described it.
Battling addiction, struggling with suicidal and homicidal feelings and still homeless Peter finally realize, “I had crossed the line into insanity. Spirit totally broke, I heard a voice in the wilderness say to me, ‘Peter, you are going to stop your foolishness or you are coming to face judgement NOW’ I knew I didn’t want to meet God in this condition. ” For the first time Peter acknowledged his problem and become serious about receiving help. He reconnected with his counselor in High Point, NC who helped him enroll in a treatment program in Virginia. When Peter graduated from this program he was sober but still homeless. He needed a place to stay. Looking for a fresh start in a place other than High Point, Peter first found Fellowship Homes and then found Samaritan Ministries in Winston-Salem, NC. At Samaritan Ministries Peter enrolled in Project Cornerstone, a transitional housing program for homeless men recovering from addition. After completing Project Cornerstone, Peter moved to Vivas Cottages, which was a transitional housing program operated by ESR and the VA and ultimately received the keys to his own place.
Housed and sober Peter continued to climb the ladder to an improved and self-sufficient lifestyle by pursuing employment and higher education opportunities. He registered at Forsyth Tech and soon graduated with a degree in Paralegal studies. Peter opted for a social service career after deciding that he did not want to pursue a career in criminal justice. He was offered a job as a housing monitor at his former transitional housing program, Vivas Cottages and later transtioned to become the first monitor at the 5th St Project, the first permanent supportive housing project of the community’s Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. Peter recalls that he enjoyed this job because it allowed him to connect and collaborate with various organizations and people in the community. He collaborated with community members to organize the Triad’s first Stand Down for Veteran’s in Greensboro, NC. Peter attributes his connection to United Way to his employment at Veterans Helping Veterans Heal (VHVH), where he currently serves as the Program Coordinator. Peter is also a board member at Samaritan Ministries. In spite of all that he has been through Peter lives with no regrets and professes that his life is “challenging, but wonderful.” He embraces his past and uses his experiences to provide guidance and support to the veterans at VHVH. He believes that “their dream is an important dream” and diligently works with veterans to achieve the lifestyle that they want.
“Peter is a wonderful member of our CoC. ” said Andrea Kurtz, Senior Director of Housing Strategies at United Way of Forsyth County, “He has a kind and generous spirit. He not only supports those organizations that supported him in overcoming his addiction and homelessness, but he has dedicated his life to walking along side other veterans struggling with homelessness and addiction to help them in their journey to recovery ”
Peter says, “I now am in a place where I can embrace my past and use my experiences to provide guidance and support to the veterans at VHVH. I know their dreams are important dreams,” he says, “and when they can see that too, their success becomes our success”. At VHVH the staff live by the motto, “We give you a hand up, not a hand out.” Peter Moorman is a living example of the power a hand up can have on a whole community.