A man who used to live on the streets of San Antonio, Texas, has turned his life around, battling addiction and homelessness to get a job as a maintenance man cleaning downtown San Antonio’s streets.
Jacob Aguero, 27, said taking care of downtown is his passion as he helps Centro San Antonio disinfect the public surfaces in downtown during the coronavirus pandemic. He says his job allows him to give back to a community that has given him so much in the past.
“It helps me stay sober. It helps me be a better person, and it allows me to do these things,” Aguero told Spectrum News.
Aguero says he knows downtown so well because he once lived on its streets as a homeless person.
“I know what it’s like to not change your socks for two weeks. I know what it’s like to eat out of a trash can. I don’t live my life like that anymore,” he said.
Aguero said he had a rough childhood and both his parents dealt with addictions of their own. By the age of 18, he was addicted to heroin and could not get through the day without using a needle.
“Drugs rewarded me and drugs gave me the drive I needed or at least what I thought I needed, so I ran with it,” said Aguero.
The turning point for him was when he witnessed his father enter recovery. At that time, Aguero checked himself into rehab for the second time and stayed there for three months.
An ambassador from Centro San Antonio visited the rehab facility and spoke about what it was like to work there. Aguero applied shortly after the visit.
“I’m here, [employed] for seven months now, and I’m excelling faster than I can even fathom. I’m learning so much from this place,” he said.