ATLANTA - For the first time in a year, Benjamin Slaughter has somewhere to lay his head down at night.
Slaughter is the first to tell you he never thought he'd be living on the street. He says he became homeless after a work-related injury, soon the bills piled up and he had no way to pay them.
"You don't know what to do. I just went around really scared," Slaughter said. "I sat on this bench. I sat there thinking 'What am I going to do?' All of a sudden I fell asleep on the bench."
Slaughter was thrust into a world he can only describe as hell.
"I found myself sleeping anywhere, trying to stay warm," he said. "Everywhere you go, people call the police. Cops chase you off. You just go around streets wandering like a lost soul."
And he says no one wants to talk to a homeless man.
"They treat you like you don't exist," he said. "If you walk up to someone, they act like they don't even see you."
But life for Slaughter changed when he met Dan Rustin.
Rustin saw Slaughter on Piedmont in the cold, no gloves, shivering, holding a sign.
He gave him $140 and left.
"I don't help every homeless person I see, just something about Benjamin pulled at my heartstrings," Rustin said. "I got to see what's going on with this guy,"
Rustin turned around and found Slaughter outside of the Gold Room.
Rustin asked Slaughter to get in the van. He was taking him to get food and warm clothes.
"It was so cold. My hands I looked at them thinking they were probably bleeding, that's how cold it was. I got into his van and I was shaking all the way to the store," Slaughter said.
After getting to know Slaughter and hearing his story, Rustin knew he had to do more. He took Slaughter to his home.
"How many strangers would take another stranger, especially a homeless person to their home? I showered in his home, ate and the guys been in my life ever since," Slaughter said. "I asked him 'Why me, why me, why not you?"
Rustin posted Slaughter's story on Nextdoor – and people stepped up. Rustin has now created a GoFundMe account for Slaughter.
"He's just like us. He just has a bad situation," Rustin said. "He got hurt on the job. Once you get hurt your out of work, you cant pay rent, you're homeless, and once you're homeless there's really I don't think a way to get back in society."
Slaughter says he doesn't know how he would have gotten out of it.
"I thank the people who are helping me that don't know me. I promise them one thing. It's not in vain. I won't let them down," he said.
And he hopes people can learn from his story.
"I just want people to know when you see a homeless person don't just [act like] every homeless person as they're a bum because there is always something behind that person's life," he said.