If you’ve never experienced homelessness or a debilitating addiction, chances are you’ve struggled knowing what to say to someone in the midst of those battles. Do you offer advice, do you comfort or reassure, do you step in and be a force for change? Even those of us who have experienced similar trials, don’t have an easy answer—because the answer isn’t easy.
As part of our Fall Campaign, we asked current and former UGM residents to tell us what they needed to hear in their darkest hours. Their responses covered a wide array of needs, but one message came through every answer: if there is breath in your lungs, there is hope for you.
Read these messages and start sharing hope today.
“Go all in. Change will happen. Even when it seems impossible, reach out and ask for help. Even if it takes a few tries, there’s bound to be someone who’s willing to help.” - Skyler, former addict
“There’s definitely hope. God is real. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop looking. Searching for the right kind of help is very important. If there’s a UGM near you, run to it. You’re going to be able to find your way out.” - Isabel, formerly homeless “Hang in there. You're worth it. Don’t listen to the lies. When I thought everything was falling apart, it was actually coming together.” - Glenda, formerly homeless
“Don’t wait until tomorrow. Do it now. Start today. Start now. You can live in freedom. You don’t have to live in shame. The high means nothing because it’s going to go away.” - Allen, former addict
“I know how it feels, but it is possible to learn to love yourself.” - Casey, former addict
“There is true peace and real hope.
But you can’t do it alone. You have to
accept help.” - D.W., former addict
“Your home is not in a tent somewhere by a river, it is not in an encampment on the side of the road, it is not behind a dumpster. I know because I’ve been there. You are worth so much more than where you are at right now. Your home is with safe people. You can be known and loved.” - Jennifer, formerly homeless addict and UGM alumna
"You are worthy of love. Don’t settle for less." - James, formerly homeless addict and UGM alumnus
“God has more for you than barely getting by. He wants you to have a fulfilling, full, fun life, surrounded by friends you can trust. He doesn’t want you to worry about where you’re going to sleep at night. I want all these blessings to come to you. You have worth. There is hope. There is a community that really wants to help. Be brave enough to take the first step.”
- Eric, formerly homeless addict and UGM alumnus
“You can’t go on like this. There’s a better way. There is no future in addiction. None.”
- Patrick, former addict
“There’s a better life.” - Garrett, formerly homeless addict
“If you want it, you’re going to be
able to do it. If I can stay clean
as long as I have, you can definitely
do it.” - Racheal, former addict
“You don’t have to wake up every day and choose to live in filth and brokenness. You don’t have to stay in a place you know you don’t belong. Where you will never be happy, where there will never be a way out. There is a way out. You have a future and the hurts that you have been through can be healed. You can have a wonderful life. There is a better way. Life can be beautiful.”
- Robert, formerly homeless addict and UGM alumnus
“Find a community. Find God; He’s going to be there so you’re not alone.” - Jaymee, former addict
“I know that you’re feeling alone right now and that nobody cares about you, and everybody has given up on you, but there are actually people out here who want to help you succeed. They want to hold your hand to the finish line and help you get there. There’s these people that care, and they want to help you go from broken to who God made you to be. You are not alone. People do care.” - Elizabeth, former addict and UGM alumna
“Look, seriously, you’re not alone. There are so many people who are willing to talk to you, who are willing to help. Everyone’s very encouraging at the Shelter. We’re a team here, rooting for each other. This is a safe place.” - Steven, former addict
“If there is breath in your lungs, there is still hope for you.” - Debra formerly homeless addict and UGM alumna
If you follow any of UGM’s pages or donate and shop at UGM Thrift Stores, you’ve already seen many of these quotes—we’ve made tee-shirts and stickers with them, handed them out to men and women on the streets, put them up on billboards, and posted them on social media. We’re proclaiming these messages loudly across the region because we believe there is no more compelling message for those experiencing homelessness than “I’ve been there, and I found a way out.”
Our guests want those still living on the streets and battling addiction to know that there are people at UGM who want to help them pave a way out. When you share their messages, you’re helping them reach the men, women, and children who need our help the most.