Scott Silverman almost committed suicide twenty-three years ago. Substance abuse that escalated over two decades led him to an open 44th floor window, which Silverman stood by contemplating suicide. Just before what could have been disaster, a colleague of Silverman’s intervened. The next day Silverman went to rehab and has been sober ever since. Silverman’s new hope in life has meant not only his sobriety but also the sobriety of thousands of others. In 1993 Silverman started “Second Chance,” a San Diego based program for the homeless, people in shelters, and for those just released from jail. The program offers job training, housing, and mental health and substance abuse support for those enrolled. Since its conception, Second Chance has given over 24,000 people a new start. The following is an excerpt of an article from CNN.com that discusses Silverman and his program:
Fast forward to 2008. Silverman has turned not only his own life around but also the lives of thousands of others. Rehab and volunteering brought him close to a community of others in need: people in shelters, those who were homeless, others who had come out of jail.
They all shared one problem, Silverman saw: They were unable to find and keep a job.
“I thought, I’ve been in treatment, I’ve lost jobs, but I got lucky and had a very supportive family. I had to find a way to help them more effectively,” he said.
The vehicle for that assistance is his Second Chance program in San Diego, California. It provides job readiness training, housing for sober living, and mental health and employment support services for what Silverman calls a “difficult-to-serve” population.
Started in 1993, Second Chance has provided services to more than 24,000 individuals. It helps graduates with job placement and follows up with them for two years.
Of 219 Second Chance graduates in 2004, 169 found employment, the organization says. Three-quarters of them remained employed two years later.
One key to its success, Silverman said, is that the Second Chance program begins with transitional, sober-living housing for its clients.
“You’ve got to have an address to get a job, and you have to have a job to keep an address,” he said. “I started with a little tiny house that we rented downtown, and in 2008 we have eight single-family homes and our main office where all the programs are run.”