COEUR d'ALENE - Since June 2012, John Padula and his wife, Amanda, have been taking into their Coeur d'Alene home many men battling drug addiction and trying to stay clean.
John Padula, 34, said, "God just gave me a disgust for my old life, but he gave me a heart that broke for people in addiction."
Padula, a former drug addict, runs the nonprofit home called Set Apart Discipleship, which currently houses 13 men.
Set Apart has ties with Pastor Tim Remington's Good Samaritan drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Coeur d'Alene.
Padula wants to help more men, and he's raising money to do remodeling in the basement of the home located at 1222 N. Sixth St. to provide three more bedrooms and a bathroom.
"We want to finish the downstairs, to expand in this home," Padula said. With that work done the home would be able to house six more men.
They already have the lumber and drywall, but now need the plumbing, electrical and paint, along with the labor.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 14, in the parking lot of the home, Set Apart is hosting a fundraiser.
They will be selling donated items and serving meals at $5 per plate. There will also be a raffle. All the money will go to the basement remodel.
During the fundraiser, the men who live at the home will be sharing their stories with those who attend.
Aidan Gale, 18, a high school dropout who had been addicted to methamphetamine and heroin and was homeless and in and out of jail, is one resident.
"I was just killing myself fast, and living out of a Dumpster, wherever I could find to keep myself out of the snow," Gale said.
He said staying at Set Apart the past few months has helped him tremendously to stay clean and get on the right path.
"With John and Amanda, it's not just a halfway house," Gale said. "They make you part of their family. That's what I needed, I didn't need to feel like I was just in some other program."
John Padula, who was born and raised in Kellogg, was himself a methamphetamine addict for 17 years.
He went to prison for six years, got out in 2006, started with cocaine and alcohol and went right back to meth. He did more time behind bars.
He didn't get on his current track, with religion and helping others, until December 2008.
Eight of the men living at Set Apart are straight off the street or out of jail. They are waiting to get into Good Samaritan.
"None of these people who come here have ever really had a family, or a family setting that they've grown up in," Padula said.
The five other men have been through Good Samaritan's rehabilitation program.
The Padulas moved into the home in June 2012, starting with hosting men who had completed rehabilitation.
"We had four guys to start with," Padula said.
Set Apart began to evolve by taking in men who hadn't completed rehab. That started in January, when Remington's program had a three-month waiting list.
The men at Set Apart all pay monthly rent. The men who have completed rehab pay the most, at $225 per month. Donations pay the rest of the bills, which total $3,100 a month.
John Padula is the only employee, and he gets only $1,000 per month to support himself, his wife and their two young daughters.
He started doing meth when he was 13, and continued until he was 30.
His experience informs his approach to working and living with the men he welcomes to Set Apart.
"My teeth were all rotted out, broken off," he said.
About a year and a half after becoming a Christian he met some people who agreed to fix his teeth. So he knows what it feels like to be the recipient of help.
"They gave me a brand new smile, all for free, like the Lord has totally blessed me," he said.
Contact John Padula at Set Apart: (208) 704-1492.