This is my story...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thank you for visiting this website to learn more about how Central City Concern helped me turn my life around.

Arrogant, unstable, unwilling to change.

High school dropout. Cocaine addict. Hustler and thief.

Chronically homeless. A drain on society.

That’s how I’d describe myself up until Thanksgiving 2008, when Central City Concern gave me one more chance to turn my life around.

I’d run away from home at age 10 and starting using drugs at about the same time. Between the ages of 12 and 44, I’d been arrested almost 200 times—126 times in Portland, alone. I’d spent 32 years living on the streets, been through four rehabs, and made countless trips to jail.

I was exhausted. And I was ready for something different.

I first became a client of Central City Concern in the Fall of 2006. CCC offered me a safe place to live and a case manager to help me get pointed in the right direction. I wasn’t particularly grateful for the help, at first. In fact, I continued to cause trouble for two more years. But Central City Concern never gave up on me.

In March 2009, I got a room at The Estate, one of several CCC buildings dedicated to housing people who are newly engaged in treatment and recovery. Shortly thereafter, I was hired on as a “barrel pusher” for the Clean & Safe program, where I started to gain job skills and earn a reputation as a dependable employee. I worked my way up, becoming a janitor through CCC’s Business Enterprises program.

Now I’m the Weekend Supervisor for the Clean & Safe program, a father to my children, and a mentor to other addicts struggling to get clean and off the streets. I’ve got my driver’s license, I’ve paid off my debts, and I’m planning on enrolling in community college so I can continue to advance professionally.

None of this would be happening for me without Central City Concern. I’m in the mainstream for the first time in my life.

I know there are countless other people out there like me who still need help. On any given night, approximately 2,500 adults—some with young children—are sleeping in shelters or doorways in the City of Portland. Nearly all of them are suffering from mental health problems, alcoholism or drug addiction. Some are victims of domestic violence. Some are military veterans with PTSD. Some have had experience with the legal system.

They all deserve the same chance I got to get on their feet.

That’s why I’m asking you to make a donation today to Central City Concern of $250, $100, $50, or whatever you can afford. You can click here to do so.

Thank you very much for supporting Central City Concern and giving others like me the chance to turn their lives around, too.

Sincerely,

Darrell W.

P.S.: For more information on who is homeless and why, please visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness website’s FAQ page.