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Year-long Downtown Rescue Mission program helps those ready to make a change

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)- The people seeking shelter from the cold often find shelter for their spiritual and emotional rest at the Downtown Rescue Mission. Since 2010, the program boasts nearly 70% non-relapse rate for those who made it a full year. Men's Program Member Joseph Billingsley said he credits his Bible to keeping him strong.

"I don't only just think about it, I have something to back me up," Billingsley said.

Nearly a year ago, he found himself at the end of his rope.

"I used to do things on impulse," Billingsley said.

That's when faith stepped in.

"It's important because it makes a change," Billingsley said "You go from relying on yourself to relying on God."

He found his rest at the Downtown Rescue Mission.

"If you want to get on the right road and get on the right path, give the mission a try," Billingsley said.

The year-long program that Billingsley is a member of at the mission is centered around three things: finding Christ, figuring out what led you thus far and applying practical steps to start a new journey.

"It's any life issues -- people that have been homeless or people who have anger issues or people who have abuse issues in their life," Senior Director for Programs & Ministries Kerry Walker said.

Billingsley will tell you, the prosperous path is harder to walk than the one that led him to the mission.

"If it was up to me, I'd be doing all the things I used to do, I'd be wild and crazy, but having Jesus Christ in my life I've had time to think and relax, and you know what else? I enjoy being here," Billingsley said.

Maybe you can relate. Perhaps you fear shelves of Bibles and wooden crosses will add to your burdens. But, if you're ready for change, they're ready to help.

"We want people here who want to be here," Walker said.

The Downtown Rescue Mission doesn't turn anyone away who needs a warm bed for the night. The only reason they turn men away from the year-long program is if they have severe mental health issues. The program for mothers and children is a hybrid program of a place to stay and classes on parenting, food nutrition and discipleship programs.