Meet Daniel Schacht, Men’s Center Director at the Rescue Mission. After spending three years on staff in various capacities, he took on the Director position for the Men’s Center in June 2019. He is known around the Mission for his kind heart, quick wit, and musical talent. Daniel and his wife lead the Rescue Mission staff in worship once a month for the all team meetings. It’s not uncommon for their 2 year old daughter to join them at Mission events.
You would never guess that just 7 years ago, Daniel was experiencing homelessness.
It all started at the age of 15 when Daniel’s mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness, leading Daniel to drop out of high school to care for her. He recalls a friend of his older brother buying alcohol for him every night to cope with the pain, and he began drinking heavily. 6 months later, his mother passed away.
“She was my savior. She was there to protect me when I was in trouble… and I did get into quite a bit of trouble.”
Daniel struggled at his young age to process and grieve the loss of his mother.
Growing into his adulthood, he managed to work great jobs, despite his battle with addiction. He worked finance positions as well as the stock market. “I feel like God was blessing me through my mess. I think sometimes He does that until you get to a point where you need to surrender.”
Daniel moved around to different cities looking for a sense of purpose and coming up dry. It wasn’t until he landed in Hawaii that things spiraled completely out of control. “I started doing meth and heroine, and that wasn’t the norm. Once I jumped into that ship, it was over.”
Daniel found himself homeless… and in trouble. He needed a change of scenery. That’s when he came to San Diego.
Daniel slept on the streets for 9 months in his new city. While he was homeless, a Christian man began building a relationship with him: having Daniel to his house for dinner with his family, talking to him, and eventually led him to a program where he could get the help he needed. And there, for the first time in his life, he encountered God.
“I picked up the Bible for the first time and read the entire book of John and wept for hours. I just couldn’t believe I had gone through the years without knowing Jesus and what He did for me. It was totally the holy spirit. God invaded that room and changed my life. From that point on, I never had cravings for alcohol or drugs. That complete encounter changed my life.”
Daniel’s unique, personal perspective on homelessness fuels him to lead our Men’s Center Program. His life is an encouragement to the students in our programs. Because of his personal experience of overcoming homelessness and living an abundant life, the students have hope that they can do the same.
“My drive to get up every morning and come here is that I’ve had a similar experience to a lot of our students. I found my identity and recovery in Jesus. Through that, I know it can happen for them too.”
It wasn’t long after completing his program that Daniel met his wife, Yvonne, doing what they love: leading worship. Outside of the Mission, the Schachts spend their free time intentionally creating spaces of worship through music and investing in relationships. And this year, their family has a lot to celebrate: 3 years of marriage, their daughter’s 2nd birthday, and welcoming another little baby this summer!
As Daniel continues to follow Jesus and lead others to overcome homelessness, he remains cognizant of his own recovery journey. “Recovery is a continual process. I’ve been 7 years clean but also know that I must sustain it. Recovery really is working daily to show up, and be your best self.”
Daniel’s heart and desire for the Rescue Mission is to be a safe, inclusive place full of compassion and integrity, meeting people where they’re at. He hopes to create opportunities for people to encounter God through worship and the word. We could not be more thankful to have Daniel as the new Men’s Center Director!
“Being able to walk alongside folks on their journey and to share my own story to encourage them has been a blessing. And being able to see and meet the needs of our students keeps me fired up. When you’ve lived it, you innately know what people are going through. To come alongside folks on their journey has been a huge blessing to me.”
The Mission aims to get people off the streets permanently through holistic, life transformational rehabilitation. To find out more on how to get involved, visit https://www.sdrescue.org/ways-to-give/.