Mission reaches out to homeless battling addiction - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Mission reaches out to homeless battling addiction


New Orleans, La –  As we move into a cooler time of year, there are many in the New Orleans Metro area who will spend their nights in the cold.  The New Orleans Mission is working to get men and women struggling with addiction off the streets, not just for a night, but for good.

"Death is the next step and that's where I was headed to," said Bobby Gene Miles.  He's currently in the New Orleans Mission's Discipleship Program and heading into his 3rd week of sobriety.  "If it wasn't for these God given people right here, I would be dead today," said Miles referring to the staff of the New Orleans Mission.

For the past few months, the new leadership of the New Orleans Mission has been reaching out to homeless men and women struggling with addiction in the streets.  However, they say some, just aren't ready for the help.  Shelter officials tell us while there is help available, many choose to remain homeless.

"There is a place to go and there is a place to get help," said John Lonardo, Assistant Executive Director.  "A lot of them want to be out there and you have to wait until they come to the end of themselves."

When they reach that point, the mission staff works to place those battling addiction in rehabilitation programs.  One program is available at the mission.  Others are in other parts of Louisiana, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina.

According to the mission, so far the program has led 110 people from the streets, to faith based rehab programs.  "They're hurting," said Lonardo.  "And these are great places where they get to know God loves them and there's freedom to deal with the root issues.  The alcoholism and the drugs is just a medication to ease the pain.

While Miles is still early in his sobriety and not far removed from his days on the streets, right now he's thankful.  "The Lord has blessed me well," he said.  "And I intend to stay here for the whole year Lord willing."

The discipleship program at the New Orleans Mission is a year-long commitment.  It includes food, shelter, spiritual counseling and responsibilities at the shelter.  The other rehabilitation programs can also run up to a year in length.

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