LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Calif. - He beat the streets by starting his own business.
FOX 11's Hailey Winslow spoke with Thomas Andrews, who overcame homelessness and went on to own a fitness training business.
At Playa del Rey, Andrews is coaching a group of athletes in one of his scheduled classes. He owns T3 Beach Fitness, but four years ago, Andrews had a much different story.
The now-business owner was once living in his Cadillac and struggled to get back on his feet as a convicted felon. And on top of that, Andrews battled alcohol and drug addiction.
"I wanted to die. I didn't want to be here," Andrews said of his lowest points.
"How did you rise above all the past that you've been through?" Winslow asked.
"I couldn't find a gun," Andrews said.
He got help, got sober and found a new purpose.
"I wanted to teach people how to get back outside and to change your body from the inside out. That’s all I wanted to do and I wanted to give them a tool to do it," Andrews said.
When Andrews was nine years old, his mother taught him how to sew. Now, he's using that skill to create bags, so people can work out anytime and anywhere. On top of that, he's working to give these bags to unhoused veterans.
"All homeless people need bags and stuff to store food, clothing and it’s a great idea and you can put sand in it, you can put food in it. Homeless people need that," said Dexter Phillip, a veteran who works at the VA and takes Andrews' classes.
The bags helped Andrews transform his own body and mind. He moved into an apartment, fell in love and the couple is expecting a baby next month.
"He believed in himself. He wanted better and it starts with a thought," said Wendell Walters, one of the athletes in Andrews' classes. "And now, we have a group of people here who he can inspire and this group of people can inspire others."
Many of the athletes taking his classes are inspired by Andrews' story.
"I’m a teacher and I work with a lot of students who struggle or whose families struggle with alcohol, addictions, things like that," said Kelsey Sinclair, who takes Andrews' classes. "And it’s really inspiring to see somebody who’s worked through that and is excited about life."
"It makes me want to give back too," said Amanda Dove, another T3 athlete. "I feel more capable."