How Your Donation Helps
You Can Eliminate Factors That Prevent Successful Recovery
Lack of Identification
Without an official form of identification, people cannot be admitted into housing or treatment services. This is a major barrier for those living on the streets. They frequently lose their ID, important paperwork or are robbed on their possessions. To gain immediate access to emergency shelter, detox, or treatment there is a process to obtain an expedited temporary homeless ID. Once admitted into a service, the next step is to obtain a permanent state ID which requires a birth certificate, social security card, or other government approved documents that can prove identity. This state ID is necessary for continuing addiction recovery services and obtaining SSI, food stamps, housing, banking, medical services, etc.
Lack of Transportation
While living on the street and actively using alcohol or other drugs, the ability to make clear decisions and follow complex instructions is compromised. So, navigating public transportation becomes a challenge and a barrier to getting into addiction treatment and other essential services. Providing van transportation, with a Recovery Coach or Clinician to and from services, is a best practice called a warm hand-off. This practice offers direct access to services which increase admissions into services and retention in the recovery process. Once stabilized, bus passes provide the ability to seek employment, training programs and access other important services necessary to rebuild life.
Lack of Social Understanding of Recovery Process
Addiction recovery is a process. It can be both frightening and overwhelming. Detoxification and withdrawal from a substance can be painful and sometimes life-threatening. Addiction treatment involves facing emotional pain and relationship issues. For individuals who have lived on the street, rebuilding life from scratch is hard and common life skills like managing money and cooking have to be relearned. The recovery process is more successful with proper social support. Recovery coaches, also known as peer recovery support specialists, have lived experience with substance use and the recovery process. They are state certified para-professionals who guide, problem solve, and help a person stay on track as they face the different stages of their recovery. Their knowledge and recovery understanding allows them to form a trusted social bond which often mitigates the anxieties, fears, personal obstacles and overwhelm a person faces as they learn to live a sober life in a society where alcohol and other drugs are publicly used.
Lack of Recovery Supportive Housing
It is important for people leaving residential treatment, which is 15-30 days long, to live in a safe and supportive recovery environment. At this step, they need time and support to relearn how to live life without using substances. Recovery housing provides this opportunity. In contrast, living in housing environments where alcohol and other drugs are permitted sets them up to return to use which can be life-threatening. In detox and treatment, their bodies started to adjust to being substance-free which decreases their tolerance. They have physically adapted but not yet psychologically. Should a client return to use and consume the same levels of alcohol or other drugs they used prior to treatment, their chances of being poisoned by alcohol or overdosing on drugs is very high.
Lack of Long Term Recovery Support
The first twelve months of recovery are critical. During this phase the body detoxifies, brain chemistry begins to normalize and people start to regain mental clarity and the capacity for improved decision making. During this phase, it is common for a person to return to use within 90 days of discharging from treatment. This is not a failure. It is part of learning how to live without using substances. Offering consistent, trusted clinical and peer support through this process increases a person’s chances of achieving and maintaining sobriety. There is enough time to learn new life habits, build social and recovery support, gain housing stability and income or employment and engage in meaningful activities. Depending on the length of time substances were used, to achieve a sustained level of recovery can take 18 months to four or five years. For individuals with a lifetime of substance use who have lived on the streets, reducing their excessive use is enough to start to stabilize their lives. Stabilization can involve being housed and addressing financial and health issues; this can take three or more years to accomplish.