Access to both housing and substance abuse treatment are critical to breaking the cycle of addiction and, for many, they’re also essential for avoiding recidivism in the criminal justice system.
Homeward Pikes Peak sees that reality every day. The nonprofit provides housing programs for vulnerable families and individuals with substance-use disorders, mental illness and those struggling with homelessness.
Homeward Pikes Peak’s mission is to enhance human well-being “and to help meet the basic human needs of all people,” in Colorado Springs — to rebuild dignity while permanently transitioning out of homelessness and away from addiction.
Beth Roalstad has served as executive director of the 20-year-old organization since 2017 and oversees its many programs.
For instance, there’s Harbor House Clinic, which provides a safe place for individuals and families struggling with issues involving substance abuse and self-sufficiency as well as veteran-specific housing programs focused on finding stable, permanent housing for those who served.
Homeward’s Harbor House Residential program provides supportive sober-living opportunities that emphasize healing while also creating community connections.
Project Detour focuses on women struggling with alcohol and opioid use disorders, as well as women facing homelessness and involvement with the criminal justice system.
Additionally, HPP operates Bloom Recovery Home, which focuses on supportive sober living for expectant mothers.
Roalstad recounts the story of Leah, a speaker at a recent HPP fundraiser: “When she initially came to us, she’d just given birth and was referred by her OB-GYN because they detected alcohol usage during pregnancy,” Roalstad says. “Leah is doing very well now. When she shared her story, she talked about childhood trauma and abuse, and how she started using drugs and alcohol as a teen to cope. Leah’s worked so hard to actively participate in treatment — she’s employed now, she lives on her own, and she radiates joy while on a new, brighter path.”
Roalstad has other success stories, including an alcoholic who graduated from HPP’s programming with tears of joy and gratitude in his eyes — and another pregnancy case: “Right now, I can think of another woman I met November 2017,” said Roalstad. “I did a [police] ride-along during the week of Thanksgiving and was introduced to a woman packing her belongings on a very cold morning. We chatted but she seemed indifferent at the time. Fast forward 10 months later, she delivered an at-risk, premature baby, and started outpatient care with us. The hospital worked with us to not remove the child from her care, and she eventually moved into one of our supportive housing units. I just saw her last week, and she was glowing. This is a woman who was homeless for 15 years and a meth addict — and she’s had an incredible, amazing turnaround.”
But HPP isn’t done — Roalstad says: “We’ve broken ground on an apartment building — construction began in early September. It’s going really well and we hope to be open November 2022. Also, in December we are purchasing two buildings to launch a new program for pregnant and parenting women with substance-abuse problems.”