People in Sydney Mines hope that sharing stories of homelessness and addiction will help foster community action. At a meeting Tuesday, several people spoke out about the issues in the community. 

One of those to open up was Ryan Gillis, started using drugs at age 13. Now 29, he has been clean since October, 2012. 

“I hope people take away hope we don't have to use drugs and we don't have to live in poverty and we can pull together as communities,” said Gillis.

Jason Hawley was listening to Gillis’ testimony. He and Gillis grew up together, and Hawley now looks to him for inspiration. 

“I've been through the process myself and its a really long a dark road, especially when you're on drugs, it's scary, really scary."

Gillis said change does not happen all at once. He said people need to accept help.

This event was the first time Gillis has spoken about his recovery back in his home town. 

“It means the world to me, it really does,” he said. “I've taken a lot from this community and all I really want to do it give back."