Homeless veteran and his family get help finding a house

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TOLEDO (WTVG) - A local family is grateful this Christmas for a big helping hand. A homeless veteran's family now have a place to call home thanks to several agencies.

The family of five has been struggling since June when they became homeless. They bounced around from a relative's house to a couple of family shelters, but two days ago their luck changed.

You can call it a Christmas miracle for the Saunders family. Presents donated by the community are just one of many blessings putting smiles on their faces.

After six months of being homeless, Navy veteran Spencer Saunders says the roof over their heads is the greatest gift of all.

"I'm blessed. You know my wife and I, we've been keeping the faith, praying that we'd have a home before Christmas and the Lord put people in our lives and I just want to thank the community," said Saunders. "God is good. God blessed us."

The family's picture from a Veterans Affairs case worker caught the attention of Ken Leslie, the founder of Veterans Matter, a local non-profit that helps house homeless vets across the nation.

"We've had a big push because we wanted to get as many people home for the holidays as we could and yesterday we housed 10 veterans in 5 states nationwide one of those was in Ohio," said Ken Leslie, Advocate-in-Chief of Veterans Matter.

Veterans Matter teamed up with the Lucas County Veterans Service Commission to make this possible and secured a long term rent deposit for this family's home.

"We provide a lot of funding that helps the veterans locally get housed and as a veteran myself, and Lee is also a retired Navy veteran, it just brings great joy to us to be able to do this especially the day before Christmas. I mean how awesome is that," said Jason Brown, Deputy Director with the Lucas County Veterans Service Commission.

"Everything seemed to fall in place. The furniture; I got a call from Ken telling me he got them housed, which is great. Five hours later I get a call from a lady who says 'I'm going to give you a house full of furniture.' and so we're like where did this come from? This came out of nowhere!" said Lee Armstrong, Executive Director with the Lucas County Veterans Service Commission.

Saunders hopes sharing his story helps other vets who are struggling by knowing resources are available.

Since 2013, Veterans Matter has housed 1,279 homeless vets in 14 states. More than 200 were housed in our region.

Leaders with the county's Veterans Service Commission say many don't know about their services. They can help vets file V.A. claims and provide emergency financial assistance for things like rent, utility bills etc.

If you need help, you can reach out to the Veterans Service Commission by calling (419) 213-6090 or emailing them at: lcvsc@co.lucas.oh.us

You can reach Veterans Matter by calling (567) 698-7838 or visiting their website or Facebook page. We've posted all of these related links.