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“I was set on fire in a random attack. I was homeless. I went to the hospital for third and second degree burns. I don’t have any family here, so the hospital placed me in Pathways to Care for aftercare.

A big part of me being homeless is because I’m an alcoholic and an addict. This happened because of my addiction. That, and part of it I guess is my mental health, not being on my medicine for depression. I don’t know how to explain it. My mind was just in a complete scramble.

Just being here, I’m really grateful for this place because it gave me plenty of time to stay away from that stuff. I didn’t do any of that while I was here. I got my head right. The plan was for me to heal physically and mentally, and that’s exactly what I did. And I am just so grateful for this place. I was homeless out there—sleeping on the streets. Just being able to have a bed and food and not just be wandering around, I feel like I got my dignity back.

Getting set on fire was a tragic blessing. It was painful. It certainly messed with my looks. It changed my life though. It straightened me out. This is a forever reminder of what those things lead to and how far I’ve come. It’s so much easier not to take things for granted like I used to. It’s easy to be grateful for every little thing—every breath, every moment, everybody that you come across. I’m so happy! You could say I’m in a state of utopia. It’s unfortunate that this is what it took for me to get there, but I’m glad I got there. I can’t stop counting my blessings!”

Luis has been at Pathways to Care since January. He is getting discharged this week and starting a new job!