If you consulted the actuarial tables, Ricardo should be dead.

He was born into a family where no one looked out for him except to do him terrible harm. He started smoking weed at age seven and drinking at age eight. No one intervened—not at home, not in the neighborhood, not in school. “I was always trying to be accepted, always hoping to be loved,” he says, “and I never was.”

For many years, his life took the predictable route—addiction, jail, broken relationships.

But, mysteriously, something clicked for Ricardo last year at age 39. “It was when I couldn’t see my kids,” he says. “I said, ‘Let me do treatment one more time.’”

Thanks to rental assistance from COTS’ Rapid Re-Housing program, Ricardo is now living in a Sober Living home, where he’s recently been promoted to assistant manager. He’s enrolled in classes at the junior college to become a union electrician, and he’s taking care of his physical health—getting a necessary surgery so he’ll be able to work when his studies are completed.

But the most important thing he’s been doing is taking care of his mental and spiritual wellbeing. He’s working with a therapist to examine his past trauma and to chart the kind of future he wants for himself and his family. He’s also taking all the steps required to be able to see his kids unsupervised.

Thank you, supporters, for giving us the means to help Ricardo in his extraordinary and courageous journey.