Can We End Addiction-Related Homelessness with a Mountain Climb?

Can We End Addiction-Related Homelessness with a Mountain Climb?
November 18, 2018 Gina Haines

As a result of the opioid crisis and addiction problems plaguing our society, homelessness continues to be on the rise. Every night, more than half-a-million people in the United States are in search of somewhere to sleep.

When they’re lucky, they find a shelter, or doorway, or a bench, or a patch of grass or asphalt. The unlucky spend their nights wandering, or under arrest, or in any number of dangerous circumstances.

And every morning, there are a few who don’t wake up.

Homelessness is a life-and-death issue and addiction plays a large part in the problem. Many of our nation’s homeless who also suffer from a drug addiction have that much more to overcome and are that much more at risk. While there are many programs and shelters doing terrific work to help our homeless population, they don’t have space or the resources to help everyone.

And few programs have proven successful in helping to lift people out of their addictions and as a result, homelessness permanently and productively. Why? Because they aren’t equipped to treat the root causes like addiction, and because there are too many lives that need saving today to make adequate plans for tomorrow.

We need to change the paradigm. We need better long-term solutions for homelessness, for addiction, and for giving everyone the help and the tools for self-help they need.

Climb Out of Homelessness

Of the 540,000+ homeless people in the US, more than 21,000 of them are here in Washington State. Well over half of Washington’s homeless citizens are located in the Seattle-Tacoma area—one of the most affluent and high-tech regions in the country.

In cities with many “haves,” the plight of the “have-nots” becomes even harder to witness.

But homelessness isn’t simply a matter of economic hardship. For many, it is tied to lives of abuse, neglect, drug addiction, and other mental health issues. For these people, finding their way to a happy and productive life means undergoing a more intense and profound healing process than finding a new place to call home.

They need a way to take back control, and to build the skills and strengths they need to move up and beyond the positions, they’ve landed in.

Since 2011, our organization has been working with two local shelters to give recovering addicts a life-changing experience—one that allows them to truly climb out of homelessness. Each year, individuals demonstrating success in a broader recovery program receive nearly 10 months of physical and mental training in preparation for a summit of Mt. Rainier. The five-day trek is one that few people from any walk of life attempt, and marks a significant triumph for those with a background of drug dependency and shelter insecurity.

This year, we’re holding a Fundraising Climb to raise funds to help serve more people. Eight donors will be joining us on a climb that follows a route our program participants may take, right up to the peak of Mt. Rainier. These donors can’t get their alone, though—they need your help, too, because they’re each raising funds to sponsor a minimum of two recovery climbers in 2019.

Please consider making a contribution to one of our donor climbers. Together, we can take steps to end homelessness once and for all, one summit at a time.

To donate, or to learn more about our organization and our Fundraising Climb, please click here.

SIGN UP TO PARTICIPATE

Want to donate to a participant’s climb? Visit https://donate.recoverybp.org, search for the climber you want to support and make your donation.