A story of hope, and a lopsided deal

A national ministry for addicts has a record of success, but its work program leaves some vulnerable men feeling misused

Jesse Carter’s first job out of homelessness and a crack cocaine addiction took him on an improbable journey, from a Philadelphia ghetto to the top floors of Boston’s Marriott Copley Plaza, where he worked on an $18 million renovation of the towering Back Bay hotel.

Arranged by his church, a Christian drug rehabilitation ministry called Victory Outreach, the job offered Carter hope of a steady wage and a fresh start. But inside the Marriott his optimism quickly faded, displaced by unshakable fatigue and pain from the daily demands of the work. He said he was moving furniture 12 hours a day, six days a week — part of a crew from Victory Outreach working around the clock last winter to remodel the hotel’s 1,100 guest rooms.

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