Marie Turner had everything

she could want. She had more money than she knew how to spend, three children,

a job she loved and a lot of free time.

"I just had too much

money and not enough to do," Turner said. "Then, my stepmother

introduced me to crack cocaine."

It was a textbook case of

addict behavior after that — she was evicted, bill collectors began

calling and her children's father took the kids with him to Indianapolis.

"After about three months of

living in Columbus (Indiana) without my kids, I was going crazy," Turner

said. "I decided with my boyfriend to move to Indy. I didn't have any

place else to go. So, we came here."

Turner and her boyfriend

lived on the streets for a few days in Indianapolis before chancing upon an

encampment of other homeless people on White River Parkway.

"They let us stay

there," Turner said. "We were a big happy family."

After a few nights in the

camp, Turner and the others had a surprise visit during the night.

"It was snowing and cold

and they scared us to death," she recalled.

The visitors were two

outreach workers from Horizon House.

"They sat with us and

offered us food and water. They introduced us to Horizon House and said we

could come there and take care of some of our needs. We all went to the Horizon

House the next morning and started utilizing their services."

She continued to live on the

streets and feed her addiction for another year after that night.

Horizon House eventually

helped Turner find a job in a factory. She saved enough money after a few

months to afford a car and an apartment. Turner took six others from the camp

with her to her new place.

"I was fighting my

addiction at the time," Turner said. "Unfortunately, my friends

wanted to continue their struggle. So, my friends and I, we parted our ways. I

got my kids back. I got everything back on track."

Turner worked various jobs

over the next few years. She was clean, had money and, most importantly to her,

she had her kids again.

Years after her first

encounter with Horizon House, Turner heard about a job opening there.

"I went in and

interviewed," she said. "I actually started crying in the interview

and told them how much it would mean to me. Had it not been for Horizon House

that night I could've died. Anything could've happened."

Turner now does the same job as

the people who found her that night. She's an outreach worker in addition to

working the front desk some days. She also volunteers to be on call one week a

month to be notified by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department if they

find someone who is identified as homeless.

"I've been on both sides

of the desk (at Horizon House) and it sucks," she said. "You can't

imagine what someone has to go through to sleep outside — gather your

belongings, get up off the freezing-cold concrete. Everybody's situation is

completely different. Because they're homeless they're not crazy or have a drug

problem. They're people."


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