Stories of Hope

Mark had done a lot of traveling before he ended up here at the Mission.

He’s been places he never wants to be again. Like Skid Row in downtown LA. Or the woods around Big Sur where he had to watch out for bears and cougars. Or the drug-infested homeless areas of San Jose and Santa Cruz.


Evelyn was collecting social security benefits and operating a produce truck to support herself and three of her children. Then the unthinkable happened. “I was trying to make the extra money we needed for food and laundry and to pay the bills,” she says. “But since I was self-employed, the IRS thought I was making more money than I was claiming. So they cut my benefits and I ended up losing my apartment.”

Jeff had once struggled with drugs and alcohol, but through a Christ-centered program, he got clean and sober. He’d maintained his sobriety for 20 years – then, he lost his job.

“I was getting unemployment, looking for work, and had a lot of extra time on my hands. I started drinking again,” he says. “I ended up homeless, living in a tent up in Topanga Canyon for nearly a year.”

/sites/hopeofthevalley/files/0915_hvrm_nl_02-300x450.jpgBefore he began using drugs, Dan was “doing great.” He was married with two young children, had his own home and a business.

Then, he started using cocaine and began living “two separate lives.” Eventually, he was using every day. When the cocaine didn’t give him the high he wanted, he switched to meth. And that’s when “the wheels fell off.”

/sites/hopeofthevalley/files/images/0615_hvrm_nl_02story.pngDespite a previous addiction to heroin, Gino was doing well. “I had a job and a truck and a place to live. Then, I got laid off, lost my place and my truck was repossessed. After that, I just didn’t care anymore and started getting high again.”

0215_hvrm_nl_021.jpgShay was in love. But love didn’t turn out how she expected, and instead involved abuse, heartache, pain and darkness. She decided to start over.

“I wasn’t afraid of being on my own with my two kids and no help at all,” she says. “But we didn’t have anything – no food and no resources.”