Husein came to America from Bosnia as part of a relocation effort to assist survivors of the war between Bosnia and Serbia. Husein served as a solider in the Bosnian army and was captured by Serbian forces. He was held prisoner and endured ongoing torture for a year before he was released and came to the USA, initially landing in Chicago. Husein spoke no English and did not fare well, living in an abandoned building in Chicago and getting food from shelters.
After two and a half years in Chicago, Husein moved to St. Louis. He was confused, unable to communicate effectively due to the language barrier, and suffered from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When he first arrived in St. Louis, he ended up living in a tent on the river just north of the city.
Eventually, a local mental health agency referred Husein to Depaul USA for housing and other supportive services. A turning point.
Within a week of his referral, we moved him into an apartment. Once he had stable housing, we helped him enroll in classes at the International Institute to improve his language skills. He picked it up quickly and before long, he could engage in meaningful conversations. Husein can now communicate when he is struggling with PTSD and this allows us to help him access needed services. Depaul USA also continues to assist him so he can maintain his mental health services, health benefits and housing.
Husein is especially thankful that Depaul USA connected him to a local mosque. He engages in social events and activities there three to four times a week. He has even been entrusted with a key due to the amount of time he spends volunteering at the mosque. He has also developed strong friendships and goes on fishing trips in the summer with his friends.
Husein now lives as independently as he can, although he still needs supportive services to maintain his housing. He misses his country but loves his neighborhood and his apartment. Husein finally has a safe place to call home and we could not be happier for him; especially considering all the barriers he had to overcome to start his new life.