Delivering Second Chances
By Jon Nerdig
When Mike arrives at St. Vincent de Paul’s Cardinal Manning Center (CMC) on Skid Row, he was in the midst of that he described as the worst period of his life. He was homeless, underemployed, and in debt. First his driver’s license had been revoked, then he lost his job as a commercial river and eventually he lost his home. He was in need of a second chance. At the CMC he was given that chance.
After just three months at the center, Mike was out of debt, working at a new job, and moving into permanent housing. In his words, “Everything seems to be going my way.” Mike was a participant in the Men’s Advancement Program (MAP), a program for working adult men experiencing homelessness. Following the program, Mike was able to save 60% of his income to pay off his debt.
A large part of his success he attributes to the helpful CMC staff. “Every single one of them I would give a grade A,” he said. Mike was especially thankful for the assistance he received from his social worker, Ann, at the CMC who helped set up the repayment plan to repay his debt.
Mike had been to other programs before his arrival, but was quick to say that the CMC was where he received the help he needed. He appreciated how peaceful the CMC was. It didn’t seem like a program, it was more like an opportunity to learn.
Mike believes coming to the CMC was, “What God intended for him,” and that he was able to grow as a person during his stay. In the future, Mike hopes to save enough money to move to a nicer apartment, but for now he is content. He feels very blessed by the opportunities he was given at the CMC, and wishes that everyone who is homeless would experience the program.
“I’ve recommended this program over and over to everyone I know,” Mike said. “Everyone deserves a second chance.”