Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.622.5868
Friday, July 16, 2021 at 12:24 p.m.
Justin Meisner used to be homeless but now, Meisner is working as an intern for the City of Spokane Streets Department.
“So, I’ve been assigned to the paint crew, so we’re going to paint the crosswalks around Garfield Elementary. We have to set out cones, set out wet paint signs, lay down the stencil, and paint the crosswalks and lay down reflective beads,” explained Meisner, a current resident at the Union Gospel Mission.
Meisner found his new direction in life with help from the Union Gospel Mission’s Business Practicum Program. Justin is completing his 240-hour internship with the City’s Signs and Markers unit.
“I’m getting a lot of hands-on work skills. Just doing stuff I never even considered doing in the past,” said Meisner.
UGM internships help remind people what it feels like to put in an honest day’s work and rebuild confidence in themselves.
Aarron Demaras is Meisner’s painting partner and impressed his unpaid intern has a habit of running, not walking, back to their truck for tools.
“Oh,I’m definitely impressed, especially anybody who takes the initiative on their own. Even if he just need a little push. Just to keep at it, and be diligent about it,” Demaras said with a smile.
Meisner says back in Oklahoma, a violent stepfather and alcoholic mother made him angry, apathetic and led to Meisner’s own substance abuse problems.
But now, Meisner is on track to graduate from the UGM Business Practicum Program, like 359 other former homeless people before him.
“If you are all alone, you have nobody to help you through,that’s where the UGM really comes through. Everybody there is just great support, really gives you the tools you need to pick yourself up and start fresh,” Meisner emphasized.
And that’s how Justin set aside his addiction and life on the street, to literally leave his mark on the Spokane Community.