Being able to work on myself has opened my eyes to a lot of hope, and I can see now that this world’s not bad. Out of all of the programs that I’ve heard of, this is the best one. I’m a really grateful person right now, and I’m going to stay a grateful person for the rest of my life.”

Charles never imagined that he would end up homeless. He had a good childhood and a loving family, but in his late teens Charles developed a drug addiction that followed him for years, damaging his relationship to his family and friends. Unable to keep a job, Charles eventually found himself on the streets.

After his drug use reached a peak, he ended up in a hospital, close to death. Lying on the hospital bed alone, Charles knew something needed to change in his life.

Charles gradually recovered. Upon being discharged, he entered a drug rehabilitation center where he finally began to feel like himself again. After completing the program, he needed somewhere to go. He had heard about A New Leaf’s East Valley Men’s Center (EVMC). After making a quick call, he was placed at the shelter with a bed and storage area all to himself. 

Now six months sober, Charles has been able to rebuild his relationship with his family. He says that they wanted him to do something on his own, for himself. “It’s good for me to do that. This place has given me that opportunity, and that’s what I love about it, I get to help myself get better.”

Charles has been at EVMC for a month and a half and proudly reports that in that time, he has been able to get himself out of debt with the money he’s made, while also being able to save some for an apartment.

Charles’ health has also improved greatly. “I’ve done so well with my blood sugar that my doctor is taking me off of insulin. My mind can now focus on bettering my life.”

“This place has good food and is a safe place to sleep. There’s really good people here. I feel a peaceful spirit here. There’s a good vibe. Every one of the staff members has treated me well.”

Charles has an appreciation for the volunteers that bring meals to EVMC. “That proves that people love this place, and they have a reason to. I mop every night in the kitchen, mainly because I like to say thank you to those people in person and let them know that I’m grateful. I appreciate this place a lot.”

EVMC has given Charles the opportunity to stay in contact with his friends that are clean and sober. He is also able to go to meetings and to church. “Now I have a support network in my life. I have never had that. It’s important to have people around that understand what I go through and how hard it really is to stay clean and sober.”

“I think a lot of people that are homeless use drugs because they don’t feel safe, and it’s easy to fall into self-pity. You come to a place like this, and you’re fed and you’re housed and you’re safe. They have clothes for you, they help you get a job, and it helps to make you feel like you have dignity again. You can concentrate on getting better, and that’s what I’ve done here.”


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