Coalition scoop: First Steps for Women

This week, we wanted to focus on two little-known, well-deserving programs at the Coalition. Today we are telling you about First Steps for Women, a new program about which we are very excited. And later this week we will share all about Scattered Site Housing, a program specifically designed to reintegrate our clients back into the community. Enjoy!

On March 2, 2009 the Coalition launched First Steps for Women, a highly anticipated and urgently needed program. This initiative seeks to restore homeless women to a substance-free lifestyle, enabling them to participate in the community and become productive members of society. The program has a capacity for 10 residents.

Modeled after the Coalition’s First Steps Program for men, this intensive substance abuse recovery initiative is offered to addicted single female clients who resolve to follow the program and pass a drug test. The Coalition has partnered with Specialized Treatment, Education & Prevention Services Inc. (STEPS) to provide a twelve-step curriculum, arranging for Coalition participants to attend an off-site STEPS meeting each morning. In the afternoons, First Steps for Women participants fulfill community service hours and complete a walking program (similar to our First Steps running program for men). In the evenings, women attend NA/AA meetings or the Women’s Empowerment group.


Branda was the first woman to graduate from STEPS and complete aftercare in the Coalition’s First Steps for Women program.

The STEPS program covers a 90-day period, during which First Steps participants follow a strict program schedule and stay in a designated dorm in the Coalition’s Center for Women and Families. After this initial period, the women complete the Coalition’s on-site aftercare regimen. During aftercare, the women still attend NA/AA meetings regularly but are also able to obtain a job or pursue educational opportunities. After an estimated total of 120 days in the program, the Coalition anticipates that First Steps for Women graduates will be ready to move into the Women’s Residential and Counseling Center, the Coalition’s transitional housing facility for women.

Branda Houser, the first woman to graduate from STEPS and complete aftercare in the Coalition’s innovative program, affirmed that First Steps for Women has helped her remain firm in her new lifestyle.

“I have come a long way.” Branda asserts. “Next month I will have been clean for a year. I’m proud of myself…and I am not going back to how I used to be.”

Through the innovative First Steps for Women program, the Coalition aims to assist clients like Branda as they move from homelessness, addiction and desperation into bright futures lined with recovery and productivity.