- Courtesy Homeward Pikes Peak
- With Homeward Pikes Peak's help, Daniel has stayed sober and employed.
The number of homeless individuals in El Paso County without shelter, and those using emergency shelters, transitional shelters and supported transitional housing, was estimated to be 2,094 according to the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care 2017 Point-in-Time and Housing Inventory Report released in August. Local advocates consider that the survey doesn't count everyone in those categories, and believe the numbers are even higher.
According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about 38 percent of the homeless population misuses alcohol and about 26 percent misuse drugs.
"It's our core mission to serve chronic homeless and substance abuse addiction," says Homeward Pikes Peak Executive Director Beth Roalstad. "This makes us the only nonprofit that provides housing and wrap-around services for this target population as its number one activity."
The mission of the local nonprofit organization is to "provide recovery and housing services in order for the very low-income and formerly homeless persons to reach their full potential." Homeward Pikes Peak serves about 250 people annually in that capacity.
Roalstad says the goal at Homeward Pikes Peak is to "inspire clients to look at what they want to achieve beyond recovery." She says that they want to help clients see themselves as more than their pasts, and see their potential for creating their own futures.
Homeward Pikes Peak started as a community-based organization in 2002, but the nonprofit now reflects a change that was made in 2007 to provide assistance to individuals who face multiple challenges such as homelessness and substance abuse, as well as both physical disability and mental illness, which is also something that sets Homeward Pikes Peak apart from other homeless-outreach programs. It provides around-the-clock case management for extra support and individualized options to help clients succeed.
One of Homeward Pikes Peak's clients is Daniel (who's only using his first name, for privacy). He was addicted to alcohol for more than 25 years, he says. Three years ago, he lost his job, his house and his cars, and he became homeless. He had also gotten alcohol-induced pancreatitis twice. His doctor told him that if he continued drinking, he would have less than six months to live.
Daniel had never tried to become sober until he found Harbor House, one of five Homeward Pikes Peak programs. He now describes himself as being better than ever before. He's been sober for more than a year, and he recently got promoted at the health care center where he works. He uses the gym that Harbor House offers to work on his health, and he has a relationship with his young son. Daniel describes Harbor House as a blessing from God, and getting involved in the program one of the best decisions he has made.
Visit homewardpp.org for more information.