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A second chance: A man experiencing homelessness is back on his feet

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Posted at 11:04 PM, May 29, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — One Hoosier man is showing that rebound is possible.

"It's very rough coming out of prison, but I stayed focused enough to know that I had to survive. I have to depend on myself as a person to get where I need to be. And that's what I do," Lawrence Mills said.

This is an update about a man WRTV first introduced you to more than a year ago when he was living at a shelter for the homeless in downtown Indianapolis.

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This week our Amber Grigley ran into the same man at a local restaurant where his hard work is getting recognized, sharing his journey to living a better tomorrow.

In March of last year, Amber covered Mills when he was staying at Wheeler Mission, just days before he thought he had to go back on the streets.

"Actually, they extended it until July 9. So, it went from March 31 until July," Mills said.

Mills moved out last summer but making it on his own was still an uphill battle.

"I'm not looking for anything big. Just something to keep a roof over my head and get out of the situation I’m in," Mills said.

Mills was released from prison in 2021, after serving 40 years.

"One bad decision,” Mills said. "It was just a thing to help me help the family. I wasn't going to do it again and again and again. You know, hopefully, eventually, we can find jobs."

With his record, Mills set out to search for a second chance.

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"We were in a formal reentry program with the city some years ago. And so, we always try to employ those that couldn't get employment elsewhere," Mills said.

Cynthia Wilson, owner of Kountry Kitchen, knew Mills' sister and answered his continued prayers.

"After I talked to him for a while, and I heard his story, I just felt like something we needed to do was to give him a second chance," Wilson said.

Mills was hired October 16 and says he never looked back.

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"Mr. Mills is currently considered a utility worker. So, a utility worker could be one of many hats. He may buss a table, he may wash dishes, he may do pots and pans, he may assist the line with replenishing the food when needed," Wilson said. "He doesn't complain, he jumps right in and does whatever we ask of him to do. And that right there is truly commendable."

"They are supportive of me, and I can't thank her enough," Mills said.

He wore a smile that we didn't see last year.

"I just wanted to say thank you for everything that you did because it made a big difference getting me out of that mission," Mills said.

Shining brighter, as he looks toward his future.

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"It's tears of joy because I’m out. And that's the main thing I care about. I don't have to be in the back where I was. I'm moving forwards, not backwards," Mills said.

Mills is still facing barriers because of his felony. Finding a permanent place to live has been tough, but he says he will hopefully have the keys to an apartment next week.