July 16, 2021 – But that winter it also cost him the last roof over his head. It was only then, faced with homelessness in the frigid cold of February as his health deteriorated, that Eugene Burnett began his comeback.

“Sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom before you can pull yourself out,” Burnett told me.

This is a story of one man’s redemption, his salvation, if you will.

We met at a going away party for two top officials from the Salvation Army.

Nancy Powers, the now former director of the Salvation Army Freedom Center, pointed him out, telling me only that he had a good story. I introduced myself and asked him to call if he was interested in telling it. I didn’t even know his name.

He sounded wary when he called but agreed to meet.

Now 49 and more than three years sober, Burnett grew up in Cabrini Green, the youngest of five children.