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Before he came to the Mission, Darrell’s life was an endless cycle: get money, use drugs, be homeless, go to jail.

“It wasn’t how I was raised,” he says regretfully. “It was all about the choices I made that got me to the point of despair.”

“I was a shopping cart guy with plastic bags and bottles and cans that I collected around the city to support my drug habit. I slept in abandoned buildings, and places people would let me stay as long as I had drugs and money...”

Darrell had tried more than 10 other rehab programs and had short periods of sobriety. But his life didn’t seem to change. It was still “empty.”


Manuel was homeless for five years before he finally came to the Mission.

“It was about two o’clock in the morning. I was cold and hungry and I had prayed for help for days. So I knocked on the door and they opened it.”

That first night, Manuel slept on a mattress on the floor. “I was lucky,” he remembers. “There was only one mattress left!”

It was the beginning of a new way of life for a man who had been homeless for five years.

“They gave me somewhere to sleep, food and clean clothes.”

“My life was changed, little by little.”

Once he had a place to stay, Manuel started attending day classes for substance abuse at the Restart Rehabilitation Center. Today, he’s celebrating his sobriety after 25 years of drinking!

Even though Howard’s twin brother brought him to the Mission, Howard knows it was really God who led him there!

Howard knew that making his own decisions wasn’t working. He had two divorces to prove it, and some time being homeless where he “couch surfed” with friends and relatives.

“I was a stubborn, proud man,” he says today. “I became homeless because of my own decisions...going down the wrong road with drugs and alcohol.”

“Even my family members gave up on me.”

Howard’s drug and alcohol use was “uncontrollable.” Through two divorces, Howard was still convinced that the problem was with each of his ex-wives. That is, until his last relationship fell apart and he found himself totally homeless and living on the street.


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Ricky started using drugs when he was just 17. “It began with marijuana and acid, then grew to cocaine. ­Then, over the past couple years....heroin,” he says. “What really spiked my addiction was losing my father two years ago.”

Ricky’s addiction was taking a heavy toll on his life, costing him jobs, and alienating him from his family, especially his mother. “I started stealing from her and it broke her heart, so she kicked me out of the house,” Ricky says.

Ricky finally had enough and told his family so. “I finally realized that I just couldn’t do it anymore. I realized that I had a problem,” Ricky says. “I admitted myself and was sent to St. Mary’s for a night, and St. Mary’s told me about the Samaritan House.”

Allen’s life began to change because of a Bible brought into the dorm at our Samaritan House Crisis Housing Center and opened at random.

“There was a little red dot next to 1 Corinthians 13:11: ‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.’”

Allen read the verse over and over and knew what he had to do!

“I’d spent years walking in a fog.”

“I thought I knew the basics of maturity...but that verse [and some sermons at the Mission] made everything click!”

Injured and unable to work, Brendan was “just getting by” on unemployment when his benefits ended.

“I borrowed from friends and family to pay the rent, but by the time summer rolled around, I couldn’t pay it any longer. I asked my landlord to give me a chance because I was doing the best I could, but he just said, ‘we can’t have you live here anymore.’”

Brendan put his belongings in storage and began to hunt for shelter. “It was July 4 and most everything was closed. The first place I went turned me down. I didn’t know what to do. I’d worked my entire life and here I was with no place to go.”

“Knocking on the Mission Door.”

0615_odm_nl_02story_0.pngDrugs and alcohol had taken everything from Bill.

“There was nothing left,” he says, shaking his head. No family. No friends. No money. No clothes. “I had been incarcerated and lost a lot of weight. There I was, homeless.

So I went to the Open Door Mission and stayed at the emergency shelter.”

“Being at the Mission opened my eyes.”

Not having to worry about a place to sleep or where his next meal was coming from allowed Bill to give some thought to changing his life, and that led him to join our Christian Life Recovery Program. That was seven years ago, and a lot has changed in Bill’s life since then!

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