"I am in a good place and happy"
- One man's struggle to overcome homelessness
and addiction with the help of The Salvation Army.
Warren Hinton was a lost soul who spent nearly 20 years of his life struggling with addiction. His substance abuse was responsible for poor choices, lost jobs, a broken marriage, a slew of family issues and his eventual homelessness.
During those years, Hinton lost jobs in various fields including an x-ray technician position, a certified dry cleaner position and a position with the NY City Department of Sanitation.
"I really lost a lot during those years," Hinton, a Bronx, NY native, admitted.
Hinton, a father of five and a grandfather of three, lived in Richmond off and on for nearly two decades including four stays at The Salvation Army shelter on 2 West Grace Street in the heart of Richmond.
In 2007, after spending 28 days in rehab, Hinton had a moment of clarity after his mother fell ill.
"I soon realized that I couldn't let what happened with my father happen again with my mother," he said. Hinton, due to his substance abuse, was not around when his father passed a few years earlier.
Hinton, was looking for a safe place to lay his head, turned to The Salvation Army for help.
"I was tired of needing a bed, and I was finally hearing what those who cared about me were telling me all along," Hinton said. "I was really ready to do something different with my life."
Several Salvation Army Richmond Area Command staff, specifically Dan McManus and Cherry Lee, played vital roles in assisting Hinton.
"Dan and Cherry taught me it was alright to share my feelings, to stop making excuses, and to stop just saying I was going to change and to start doing," Hinton said.
"They gave me the information and courage to rebuild my foundation, and once I decided to stop using, my whole life changed."
After this last two-month stay with The Salvation Army, Hinton went back to school and since the fall of 2008, he has been employed as a substance abuse counselor at a treatment facility in New York City where he leads by example.
"After years of low self-esteem and low self-worth, it feels great to have my own place and pay my own bills," he said.
Hinton has been clean for more than a year and a half and admits that the best part of his life is that he no longer sees the disappointment in his family's faces.
"People want me around today and it is such a great feeling. I am in a good place and happy!"