DENVER (CBS4) – Nearly 6,000 people are living on Denver’s streets, and  temperatures below freezing are a real danger to them. This winter two people died due to exposure.

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Merle experienced that kind of exposure during his two-years living on the streets. He told CBS4 that he was in and out of the hospital several times.

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“Found me half frozen a few times,” he said.

Merle struggles with addiction,

“I realized I had a problem, and I had to do something about it because I was going to die out there if I didn’t change.”

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He’s made big changes with the help of the staff and counselors in the New Life Program at the Denver Rescue Mission. He’s working in the kitchens there, and rebuilding his life in sobriety.

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“I can see things a lot more clearly now, more clearly than I have for the last 30…40 years,” Merle said.

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As part of the New Life program, he’s taking classes and learning to use a computer.

“How to make a cover letter and resume, something I’ve never done ever. So now I have one of those and I could probably walk out and get a job anywhere,” he explained.

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Merle’s got five-months of sobriety behind him, and he’s well on his way to turning his life around.

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“I have a future now. Thanks to this program and these people who’ve helped me become a better person,” he told CBS4.