Homeless addicts are women too

At Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, we are proud of our case-managed programs and services for adults and children.  We truly believe they are the foundation from which clients can step up to a life of independence.  One program with a special place in our hearts is our First Steps Substance Abuse Recovery Program, which was begun in 2002 to help addicted homeless men.  A second component, on-site transitional housing for men, was launched in August 2009.  We’ve posted several entries about men who have succeeded through this program, such as Lamont, Filipe and Arethus.

Contrary to a prevalent myth, all addicted homeless individuals are not men.  Thus, we were excited in March 2009 to inaugurate our First Steps Shelter Recovery Program for Women to help females recover from their addictions while living at the Coalition. The approximately four-month program includes a partnership with Specialized Treatment, Education & Prevention Services, Inc. (STEPS), an off-site substance abuse facility, and numerous programs such as Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous and the Coalition’s on-site Women’s Empowerment Group.  Clients also have the opportunity to continue in an “after care” relapse prevention program and may qualify for transitional housing at the Coalition’s Women’s Residential and Counseling Center (WRCC).

We blogged about this super program for women a while back and wanted to bring you up to date.  Through special grant funding, a partnership was established in January 2010 with the Center for Drug Free Living. The partnership expanded the number of beds available for addicted women clients and provided additional services, such as individual counseling and support groups.

Of special note since the program’s inception, the Coalition has helped over 200 women.  They have been of different races and ethnicities, college graduates, high school dropouts, felons, professionals, singles, moms, grand moms…you name it!  As the result of their hard work in the recovery program, many have secured steady employment, moved into their own dwelling, started a new life, and remained sober and clean one day at a time.  We have, in fact, seen miracles and will share some of these stories with you in the coming months.

For today, we believe the words of two current First Steps for Women clients sum up our pride in this program:

“The program has reshaped the way I look at the recovery process.  It has allowed me to regain focus.  The Coalition has provided me with the tools I need for recovery as well as direction towards leading a better life.”    Amanda – 6 months in First Steps

It’s pretty cool!  I’ve learned so much about life on life’s terms.  The program teaches me how to better my attitude and to have patience and humility.  I’m working on my life today…things that are helping me stay sober….the Coalition has given me the substance of my recovery and something to help me with my future.”  Cassandra – 4 months in First Steps