For over a decade, Bob Holmes
was the guy to talk to about homelessness in Colorado Springs.
Holmes was the executive director of Homeward Pikes Peak
, which long served as the umbrella agency over homeless services in the region, while also running several programs of its own. The most well-known of the programs was a homeless shelter housed at the Aztec Motel on Platte Avenue, which held mostly women and children.
Holmes shut down that program in November, but vowed to replace it with a drug treatment program for homeless mothers. Then he resigned in March. He says he was disappointed that the planned program never came to fruition.
But he's moved on.
In April, Holmes opened STAR-Colorado (Safe Transition to Addiction Recovery) in Cascade along the Pikes Peak Highway. It's a holistic 30-day addiction recovery program for adults that costs about
$25,000 a month.
Earlier this week, Holmes gave members of the media a tour of the facility, which used to be a bed and breakfast. The beautiful modern mountain home features wooden decks with spectacular views where participants can enjoy morning yoga or a cup of coffee.
The program stresses a three-prong approach: therapy, exercise and diet. A dietician comes in once a week to tweak each patients' diet — two out of three meals a day are catered. No soda, energy drinks or tobacco are allowed. And a staff member with a PhD in exercise physiology leads workout programs, including hikes in the mountains. Other methods include breath-work, acupuncture, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and "various energy psychologies."
All of this came together quickly, Holmes says.
"We just conceived this whole idea at Christmas and we were up and running in April," he says.
The program has eight staff members and eight contractors. Holmes says he owns the building, and is relieved that the for-profit business doesn't have to rely on grants like Homeward Pikes Peak programs did.
STAR expects to be able to accept insurance soon, but they're not waiting for that to get started. There are already four patients in the program; Holmes says there is room for eight more. He thinks the program is unique and effective enough that filling it shouldn't be a problem.
"You can start to see a little change [in the patients] after a week," Holmes says, "and after three weeks they're feeling really good."