December 12 at 6:53pm

Housing 1,000 in Action: Big Sid’s Story

Big Sid at Interfaith's Veteran's Service Center in Oceanside.
Big Sid at Interfaith’s Veteran’s Service Center in Oceanside.

For the past several years, Sidney “Big Sid” Matlock has been a fixture throughout San Diego’s North County. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Big Sid has spent years connecting veterans to housing and employment through programs at Interfaith Community Services. While he never imagined contacting Interfaith to seek help for himself, that day came due to a complication in his living situation when he was forced to find a place of his own. After couch surfing for a few months, Big Sid resorted to living in his storage unit – which he affectionately refers to as his “bat cave” – until he turned to Interfaith for help.

Big Sid first became acquainted with Interfaith while working at Palomar College in San Marcos. During his work on campus, he came across a homeless veteran that was in need of help. A North County local, Big Sid was familiar with the “really great care” Interfaith provides to the veteran community, so he decided to call Interfaith to learn about the resources and support available for his new veteran friend. Within the hour, Interfaith connected with the veteran in-need and after that, Big Sid began referring all of the veterans he came across to Interfaith.

When Big Sid reached out to Interfaith for help of his own, he was able to secure a spot in our transitional housing program for veterans in Escondido. While moving into a new apartment with strangers proved to be an adjustment, “I whipped the apartment into shape in no time,” said Big Sid. “I cleaned and created daily schedules so we could all be respectful of each other’s space.”

Big Sid (center) with Interfaith's Veterans Pre-Licensed Clinical Therapist, Crystal (left) and Housing Coordinator Celina (right).
Big Sid (center) with Interfaith’s Veterans Pre-Licensed Clinical Therapist, Crystal (left) and Housing Coordinator Celina (right).

For two years, Big Sid lived in Interfaith’s transitional housing, all the while volunteering with Operation Hope, coaching football with Escondido’s Pop Warner Football Club, and attending classes while working at Palomar College. Today, Big Sid has graduated from Interfaith’s transitional housing program and into permanent housing of his own; he happily resides in an apartment in Oceanside.

Celina T., a Housing Coordinator at Interfaith, worked with Big Sid at Palomar College long before she joined our organization. “He’s one of the most caring people I know,” said Celina. “He is genuinely compassionate about the people in his community, especially his veteran brethren. He’s one of the few people I know that would give all of himself, including the shirt off his back, to help the people around him. He got the help he needed, and now he wants to return the favor.”

“I want to serve my community,” said Big Sid. “I want to advocate for those that don’t have a voice.” Through hard work and a strong drive to succeed, Big Sid was determined to find a home, and today he is using his experiences to help others. “I don’t want people to be like me, I want them to do BETTER than me.”

 

For more information about Interfaith’s Housing 1000 campaign and how you can get involved, please contact Robert Adams, Chief Development Officer, by clicking here or calling (760) 489-6380 ext. 206.