Want to get this guy off the street? Sober him up, clean him up and put him to work. Why? Because work works! It pays for food, it pays for shelter and it does something even more important: it gives a man the kind of self-esteem he needs to be a healthy, productive, member of society.
How do we know all this? From years of experience. What most homeless people need is help breaking an addiction and a way to build their self-respect. Blind compassion does nothing to promote their self-esteem and self-respect. Handing a dollar to a drunk just helps him stay drunk and any program that takes responsibility away from a capable person dehumanizes that person.
At step 13 we nurture in each resident independence, individual responsibility, self-sufficiency and industriousness. We give a guy as long as he needs to turn his life around. As long as he follows three simple rules:
- No drinking or drugs --we give Antabuse daily as an added incentive to stay sober.
- He holds a job --if he can't find one we'll give him one at one of our in-house companies.
- And he pays us a fee. Not a lot, just enough to re-enforce the idea of paying for a place to live.
If a resident can stick with this program long enough, he becomes a self-supporting, contributing member of society just like the rest of us. About one in three do. That's not bad considering that a recent government study found that for alcoholics and addicts receiving government benefits, 99 out of 100 never kick the habit and never get a long-term job.
Right now step 13 is home to 100 men. Some work in our in-house businesses-others work for local companies. At step, we follow our own free-market philosophy. We accept no government money -- we're a private-sector solution through and through. A little more than half of our budget comes from residents' fees. The rest comes from our in-house businesses, private foundation grants and people like you. If we were to become dependent on government money it would have the same bad affects on us as it has on people who rely on the system.
We have a proven record of success. President Bush (the first one) called us a "shining example" of the kind of service that makes America great. We've won recognition from Denver, Colorado and across America. But with your help, we can do more. Maybe you have a job to offer one of our residents. Or maybe you have something we could use, like an old car or van. Or maybe you can make a donation-we can always use cash. Feel free to contact us at any time. What ever you have to offer -even if it's just moral support-we appreciate it.