“This morning, I noticed a man sleeping on the bench at the bus stop. I was eating my breakfast and couldn’t finish it all, so I offered the rest to him and he gladly accepted it,” Franklin says. “I don’t think anything of it because what was freely given to me, I give back.”

Franklin is a former Coalition guest who visited us recently to share his story and why he now has a new perspective on life.

Originally from New York City, his teen years were plagued with sexual abuse that wasn’t addressed by his parents. Not knowing how to deal with it, Franklin sought refuge in unhealthy relationships and started self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

“I never felt adequate about myself and was pulled into the gang life, just wanting an easy fix to all of my problems,” he says.

He moved to Central Florida in 2012 and found himself going in and out of the shelter system for years and enrolled in drug rehabilitation programs.

The first time he came to the Coalition, he stayed at the former Men’s Pavilion where he enrolled in the First Steps Substance Abuse Recovery program and then moved into the former Transitional Apartments.

“I would stay clean for a while and get too comfortable and get what I call, the ‘big head syndrome’. It only took one time for me to relapse again,” Franklin recalls.

In 2015 he decided to come back to the Coalition, determined to not repeat the same pattern again. He diligently attended recovery meetings and successfully graduated the First Steps program.

“I realized that what made a big difference was to cut out all of the old relationships that were setting me back. I fill up my free time with positive things. I have a mentor and still keep in touch with former addicts who are focused on staying clean.”

He worked with his case manager at the Men’s Service Center and found a job at a retail store and today he has an apartment to call his own.

“I have my life back again. There is hope and the Coalition gave me that. I tell a lot of people, ‘If the Coalition can help someone like me, then it can help you too.”

Thank you for being a part of Franklin’s story. Your support helps end homelessness for our guests and supports them on their journey home.

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