Peter Hadley

Peter Hadley

Stories From Main Street: Former Homeless Man Helping Others Reclaim Life

February 24, 2019 - 4:00 pm

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — It’s a classic story of hope and redemption— one person who beat the odds is not overcoming obstacles and helping others in a similar situation.

“My partner and I go into homeless shelters and we help people get out of the shelters,” explained real estate agent Peter Hadley.

It’s not glamorous or lucrative, but for him it’s quite personal. Hadley was homeless once too, and struggled with addiction for years.

“I too was in the shelter, 13 years ago because I was addicted to cocaine,” Hadley told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “I know how painful it really is to be in a shelter and no one wanting to help you to get out of the shelter.”

Hadley says he struggled with addiction for nearly 20 years, beginning in college.

“I got addicted to cocaine and it spiraled my whole entire life down, and it came to a point where 13 years ago, at three o’ clock, a.m., I decided I no longer wanted to be on this earth,” the real estate agent said.

He says he tried to end his own life by throwing his body in front of five cars, but likely was spared.

He explains: “The car swerved out, didn't hit me, but I smashed my head open and I wound up in the hospital. Then they put me in a psychiatric ward. When I came out of the psychiatric ward, no one would take me in— family, friends, my children's mom, they all turned their backs on me.”

He ended up in a shelter in White Plains and it was there that he says he had a “humbling” experience. All around him, he witnessed other people desperate to get high on various drugs as he was desperate to get sober. People fought him and tried to hurt him.

He says it was there that he realized he had hit rock bottom.

“I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. It was so hurtful the path that I went down. I lost my kids, I lost my family, I lost myself,’ Hadley said.

So, he decided to make a change, to get better, to get clean and to reclaim his life.

He contacted real estate agents and told them his story, but nobody would listen. He soon took to the streets, looking for anyone who would give him a chance— and he found one.

“His name was Robert Andrews of Grace Church Housing and he changed my whole entire existence,” Hadley said. “he had founding from his church and they gave me and apartment and I was able to build myself back up.”

Now, Hadley works as a real estate agent with a like-minded partner.

“We go into the homeless shelters and we find them, ‘who's got section eight’ and we asked them ‘can we help you get housing’ and they tell me, ‘you don't know how it is to be in a homeless shelter’ and I tell them ‘I’ve been in this shelter.’ And it breaks down the walls and were able to help them out,”

When they're not in the shelters they're looking for landlords who are willing to give a person a second chance.

“We spend hours a day, we knock buildings, we knock doors searching for owners that will help out,” he explained.

“I don't give up I'm still here I'm still alive and I will never give up on this cause,” Hedley says. “I want to be a shining example that anything is possible. I believe impossible does not exist. You just cannot give up. Never give in and just keep fighting.”

To others in similar positions, he says: “If I did it, this addict, can pull himself out of a shelter and take his whole life back, anybody can.”