11/27/2014 09:20 EST | Updated 01/27/2015 05:59 EST

Sheldon Vance, former homeless man, donates thousands to Covenant House

Sheldon Vance lived on the streets of Vancouver for seven years and was addicted to crystal meth. Now he's married and works as a photographer in Kelowna.

When Covenant House Vancouver held a 'Sleep Out' to raise money for its programs to help street youth, he was its largest contributor.

He donated $25 thousand and crowd-sourced an additional $33 thousand.

"They saved my life and that's why I did it," he said to Stephen Quinn on the CBC Radio program On The Coast.

"Think about them as a person and not a stigma," he said when asked what people should do when they see a young person living on the street.

"It's a human being that is struggling to get through in life and not just an addict," he said.