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'Wait on your miracle': Former boxer overcomes homelessness, gets a second chance

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Posted at 12:34 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 18:34:48-04

TAMPA, Fla.  — It’s widely known how hard it is to find housing these days, especially affordable housing. For many, the price of paradise is a financial issue, but for Mark Pace having a piece of it comes down to hope, survival, and redemption.

“When it's actually happening to you the bad stuff sometimes you forget about keeping on. You only think about the negative and what’s going on in the moment,” said Pace.

At 60, an Army Veteran and a former boxer, Pace worked his way out of a lot of corners. But life can deal the cruelest of punches sometimes. When his father, a former Bantamweight champion of the world died, Pace's world did too. He said there were years of homelessness, drug addiction and crime.

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“I started shooting up heroin and I was sleeping in shooting galleries in New York. I was laying in abandoned buildings getting high,” explained Pace.

Just five months ago, while Pace was sleeping on a bus stop bench outside of a Tampa Walmart an epiphany came. He called the Salvation Army looking for help.

“When I came here that's when I started thinking positive because the people are positive that work here,” said Pace.

Now, he hosts a weekly podcast for people experiencing homelessness. His goal is to move out of the Salvation Army.

“I always tell people to wait on your miracle because your miracle's coming. You just have to wait til it arrives,” said Pace.

And now Pace’s miracle is here. He recently received the news that his own apartment will soon become available in St. Petersburg. Just a mile or two from the daughter he once lost touch with.

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“When life gets you down and it seems like you're going to lose, go one more round,” explained Pace.

Life can deal that knockout blow sometimes. But when you are Mark Pace, determination and having some good help in your corner can get you up off the mat again.

WHAT IS THE PRICE OF PARADISE?
As Tampa Bay continues to attract new residents and businesses, the impact of living in paradise comes at a cost for all of us— from the increasing cost of housing and infrastructure to utilities and insurance. ABC Action News is committed to helping you and your family make the most of your money and navigate through the Price of Paradise.