Jason came from a broken family; he was raised by an alcoholic mother. As too often happens in such situations he found himself in unhealthy relationships, making poor decisions and Jason’s own life fell apart. He had little self-worth and fell into severe substance abuse and a life on the streets. At one point Jason was hospitalized with a deadly disease related to his situation. It affected his cervical bones, and though painful, he ended up spending his days walking through traffic, begging for change.

Even then, his journey to sobriety faltered and although he had options for detox and rehab, Jason admits he “wasn’t ready to be clean for good because doing so would mean facing pain – physical and emotional.”

But as Jason’s life spiraled down in misery, some dream of a better life somehow stayed alive somewhere deep inside him and the change (coins) he sought turned to the life change he needed. After attempts to turn his life around which included a lengthy detox program at Jackson Hospital Behavioral Center, he was referred to our Institute of Success and Personal Achievement (ISPA), a residential mental health and addiction treatment program and ultimately found purpose.

He’d always had a passion for cooking, and through Camillus programs such as the Cook Completion program in partnership with MDC and ISPA, Jason was provided with food, a bed, care, training to develop his job skills, and counseling to guide him to a better life.

Jason started helping in the Camillus kitchen as part of his therapy. That experience along with certificates from his workforce training led to a job in a popular restaurant, where he worked for two years, and then to a high end restaurant, where he climbed the ranks and works today.

“I’m very happy and lucky to have landed with this opportunity,” he says. “Thanks to Camillus House’s Rapid Re-Housing program I moved into an apartment, and it’s been great to be independent and have my own place with two puppies.” Rapid Re-Housing supplements the income of participants by providing rental assistance as they increase self-sufficiency to stay housed.

ISPA is open to individuals in Miami who are actively using substances and are homeless. Men and women at least 18 years of age, interested in participating in the treatment program must be homeless, have no income from any sources, be an active substance abuser and/or have a mental health issue. Admission to the program is based on availability and is on a first come, first serve basis.

For more information and/or admission to ISPA call 305-374-1065, Ext. 509, 555, or 524 from Monday – Friday 9 AM – 5 PM, (except on holidays).

*Name and image has been changed for privacy

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2 responses to “Addicted and Homeless – Climbing out of the Darkness

  1. You are doing the most important job anyone can do. You are helping the ones that people walk past and don’t even notice. God Bless you all at Camillus House.

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