Transcript for Man talks about his journey from homeless to CEO
- We're turning now to an incredible journey. After spending seven years homeless on the streets of Los Angeles, he had a spiritual calling to seek help, and he turned his life around.
- This is so incredible, and now Troy Vaughn leads that same mission that saved his life serving as President and CEO. Take a look at this.
NARRATOR: Troy Vaughn CEO of the Los Angeles Mission, walks the city block known as Skid Row. The same side streets where he says he spent many years drug addicted and homeless.
- You going to try to get into the program?
- No. No, sir. Thank you, though.
- OK. No problem. It's here for you when you're ready.
- All right.
NARRATOR: Vaughn, who grew up in LA, joined the Marine Corps at 18. But several years later, he says his life spun out of control, hitting rock bottom after his father died of a drug overdose.
- And then I became so destitute when I lost my job. You know, selling myself just so I can make money to use drugs and just living in deplorable conditions.
NARRATOR: Addicted and homeless for seven long years before he says experiencing a spiritual awakening.
- I made a covenant with God when he delivered me then that if he would save me, I would serve him for the rest of my life. But you got to stay committed to God. And I'm going to tell you this is your product. You're looking at your future right now. I'm your future.
- Amen. Amen.
- Amen. You believe God [INDISTINCT SPEECH]. Do you believe that?
- Yeah. Yeah.
- I'm your future because you are my past.
NARRATOR: His message to anyone in a position to help rescue someone struggling with addiction or homelessness.
- See them. Treat them as human beings. I tell you I became invisible. That sense of invisibility, of not being seen, is disastrous. We have to become our brother's keeper.
- Oh, we are just so thrilled to have Pastor Troy right here in our studio. Oh, you are so moved by that. What is it that's making you so emotional watching that story back?
- It's because so much about my past I have forgotten, and this whole process has been both triggering and healing. It was very cathartic for me to remember what it was like for me to be a child and had hopes and dreams that went awry. And now get an opportunity to help other people realize who they potentially can become.
- And we're seeing you sitting here watching yourself back, watching your past being reminded of that, but now here you are. You've been named the President and CEO of the LA Mission. So this is really the very place that you credit, right, with saving your life? I mean, what an incredible full-circle moment for you.
- Yeah, you know, I went from Skid Row to CEO.
- And it's only by the grace of God and the love of a lot of people, and that's why the issue of homelessness is so important for us to all come together to help solve.
- What is it like for you to now be in that position where you once stood, for you to be helping all these people now who so desperately need that help?
- It's so honoring for me to be chosen for this moment in time. For me to be able to live my life open and transparently before them, so they can see the hope and the possibility for their own lives.
- You said we all have to come together. We have leadership now in Los Angeles, newly elected leadership that has very ambitious goals of ending this crisis of homelessness. Are you seeing things go into action right now that you believe will make a tremendous change?
- It's a breath of fresh air. Inside Safe is really starting to transform the way we think collectively together. Creating an emergency around this issue is so important because it allows us to think outside of the box and be creative, and so we're excited for the partnership. We're excited for the opportunity to see real transformation happen.
- Pastor Troy there are often so many times people are walking down the streets and they see someone who's homeless and they sort of go away. We want to go farther away from them. What do you tell people who are just constantly doing that?
- You know what? They're not invisible. They're human beings. No one was born into this situation. Something happened to trigger this, and so we have to remind ourselves, and that's what I love about GMA, right? It's Good Morning America but I would like to say it's time to wake up America, and for us to get involved in this and collectively be able to solve this issue.
- And it's not about just creating homes for people, right? This needs to be a holistic approach. We're talking about health care, mental health care, things like that.
- Yeah, and through our service markets, we actually go into the encampments and we actually help people to get showers, mental health services, food, hot food, clothing, in one sitting and then we connect them to organizations that are actually providing housing through Inside Safe.
- Wonderful work you're doing wonderful.
- Wonderful work. Pastor Troy, such a pleasure to have you here in the studio.
- Thank you so much for having me.
- Thank you so much for coming here.
- Thank you so much.
- And thanks for being an inspiration to so many.
- Thank you so much. It's my pleasure, and I'm just so grateful that you guys have shed a light on this very important topic.
- Absolutely, and you can find out more on the website. It's the LA Mission's website, right?
- That's right, the losangelesmission.org. Go to the website. Be involved in the process of change that you want to see.
- Awesome. Thank you so much.
- Thank you guys for having me.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.