Life hasn’t been an easy for Melvin. At six years old, Melvin witnessed his mother’s murder. After her death, Melvin was moved from his hometown of Dallas, Texas to live with his father and stepmother in California. There, he was physically, sexually and mentally abused at the hands of his stepmother. He began running away from home at age 11 to escape the abuse. Not long after that, Social Services placed him in Foster Care. Upset that his brother couldn’t live with him, Melvin attempted to kill his foster parents. “I had a gun and my brother told me that I wouldn’t do it, so I did. I shot one time.” Luckily, nobody died, but Melvin was arrested for attempted murder and sentenced to juvenile hall, only to be released few months later. Unfortunately, the violence didn’t stop there.
Melvin bounced from foster home to foster home. He joined a gang at the age of 14 and did anything he could to fit in. “I just wanted to belong to something”, he said. By 1996, Melvin had become an alcoholic and dropped out of school. He tried to get help. But, while staying at a half-way house, he killed one of his roommates during an altercation. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison. After his release, he became addicted to crack cocaine. “I came to Skid Row to die. I was looking to get killed.”
Melvin found his way to The Midnight Mission and now is a part of our EDAR program. He has been clean and sober for over 3 months. During his time here, he has voluntarily helped The Midnight Mission with cleaning the outside courtyard and performing daily tasks. He is working with one of our advocates to get the mental health, employment and housing services that he needs. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find employment and housing for someone who has been convicted of murder. But, our advocates will continue to work with Melvin to help him along the bridge to self-sufficiency.
“I don’t know why I’m here. I should be in Prison or dead. I finally feel like I’m somebody because of the people here at The Midnight Mission. They gave me a chance. I don’t get angry like I used to. Now, I see purpose in my life and I want to give back and help others.” – Melvin Taylor