When you need help, your best hope is to go home and get the help you need. For the homeless, finding help is a daily struggle. Finding home can be an even greater challenge. For Willie, recovering from drug addiction, returning to his childhood home in Savannah seemed like his only hope.

Willie moved to Chicago as a young man, spending 50 years working, raising a family, and giving back to his community. He worked in the hospitality industry and volunteered to teach baking skills at a local correctional facility. But he struggled with drug addiction and his life took a dark turn. Rehabilitation programs helped him get clean, but staying drug-free proved a larger challenge.

“Soon as I got out of rehab, there was a friend of mine there with some more drugs,” Willie said, “and I couldn’t get clean. As bad as I wanted to get clean, I couldn’t get clean.”

He and his daughter decided he should move back to his childhood home to make a fresh start. But when he got to Savannah, he was out of money and out of hope.

“Grace House showed me a light at the end of the tunnel,” Willie said.

Union Mission helped Willie by providing him a drug and alcohol-free shelter with supportive services to help him reach his goal of independent living.After his time at Grace House, Willie  moved to Beyond Grace, a transitional housing program that assists residents in becoming more self-sufficient as they move towards independent living.He has since moved to  safe, stable housing in the city of Savannah.

Willie continues to work as a Resident Assistant [RA] at Grace House, supporting staff and mentoring new residents in their journey to leaving homelessness behind.  His work at Grace House allows him to give back to those who have helped him and to pass that gift along to others. Thanks to those that have given generously to Union Mission, the help that Willie received is available to those who are still in need