Some of you will recall that last January I participated in the biennial 'point-in-time' homeless count. It was the third time I had done so, and expected to encounter many people suffering the effects of homelessness. One such individual was Ashley. She was clearly suffering, in her case heroin addiction, when we found her lying on a piece of cardboard in front of Tower Theater. She was soft spoken, hurting and tired of being addicted. I offered help, but never heard from her. This was all documented in an editorial penned by my friend Erika Smith with the Sacramento Bee. It was also the subject of a KFBK radio interview conducted by my friend Ryan Harris. All three of us had been touched by what Ashley shared with us, and we were all frustrated that her circumstance seemed intractable.
Earlier this week I received an email from Ryan explaining that he's heard from Ashley and that she's turned her life around. He invited me to join Ashley in the KFBK studios to tape a segment for the Sunday Home Show and podcast.
Ashley is now clean and sober. She's off the street and reunited with her family. She's enrolled at ARC and hopes to transfer soon to CSUS to study social work. And, she's speaking-up about her experience with addiction and homelessness, inspiring others and encouraging them to accept the help that's offered.
Congratulations to Ashley. Her story is truly inspiring, and a testament to the human spirit and will. I couldn't be happier for her and her family.
Listen to Ryan Harris' Special Report on Homelessness podcasts.