Formerly incarcerated man turns his life around with the help of Phoenix Rescue Mission, Glendale Works

The nation's homeless population is increasing and a Phoenix group trying to tackle the problem has a success story to share.

A new program to house the homeless already has plans to expand.

Chris Bernal isn’t taking anything for granted. He moved to Phoenix years ago, and that’s when he says life spun out of control.

"When I came here, it was kind of a mistake and I got introduced to crystal meth and it was a big mess in my life and I ended up going to prison," he said.  Once he got out in 2018, an apartment like the one he's in now, he says was impossible to achieve.

"It was hard to find a job. Hard to find a place to live. So I was pretty much on the streets," Bernal said.

That’s where Brian Farretta with the Phoenix Rescue Mission comes in, along with Glendale Works. They started giving five hours of work a day to many without a home.

"Pick them up in a van with tools and take them out to do like beautification projects or the landfill and that’s when I first met Chris," Farretta said.

'They do so much for you'

"I thought I’d go and give it a try, and it turned out to be really good because they helped with everything. They do more than just get you work. It’s hygiene, food. They’ll feed you. They do so much for you. They help me get my social security card, my birth certificate. All of things I need to help start getting a job and moving on," Bernal said.

In 2022 so far, the Phoenix Rescue Mission was able to provide an apartment for Bernal, a massive change in his life that he says will enable him to support himself. The rescue mission has done the same for others thanks to a voucher program they hope to expand.

"I think giving them this hope and inspiration, it allows them to move forward and see things differently and that helps them with success," Farretta explained.

Bernal sees success in his future, too.

"Get a job, keep this place hopefully, find a girl eventually, and just live the rest of my days happy, keeping God first," Bernal said.

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