Treating homelessness and addiction is not only a matter of providing people with free rehabilitation. To truly thrive, people need the stability that comes from stable housing and security. Those of us fortunate enough to have reliable shelter often forget just how much having a place to call home contributes to our well-being.
Without housing, addiction recovery is an almost endless uphill battle. Housing opens the doorway to employment, improved mental health, and opportunities to build a life that someone can be proud of.
At Vegas Stronger™, we partner with organizations throughout the community and take steps to make sure our addiction recovery program acknowledges and treats multiple layers of the cause of homelessness. Our objective is to eliminate homelessness in Las Vegas by offering people struggling on the street with substance abuse the ongoing support and resources they need to rebuild.
The Golden Ticket Program
We've all heard of the famous golden ticket, but what does it mean for people on the street? At Vegas Stronger™, one of the ways we confront drug addiction and alcoholism is by providing people with the foundations they need to get sober and avoid relapse.
Without proper housing, personal hygiene resources, and food, it is very difficult for anyone to improve their lives. No matter how much they may want to get better and overcome their circumstances, it feels like the world is against them. When people feel that way for too long, they give up. We want to change that.
The Golden Ticket program connects people to homeless assistance, which includes access to shelter, food, and guidance. It is an all-inclusive offer that provides people with what they really need rather than simply giving them money and hoping they spend it the right way.
Despite people's good intentions, giving money to someone with a substance use disorder or mental illness is not usually the best way to assist them. Having access to additional funds can only further their addiction, causing them to make decisions that worsen rather than improve their situation.
The Golden Ticket takes a different approach to homelessness assistance. We connect Vegas's most vulnerable people with counselors who care, case managers that help, and access to food and shelter.
No one stops being homeless without incurring some mental trauma. Whether they have acute trauma, chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, substance abuse disorder, or any other problem, we help them. Everyone deserves a chance, and the Vegas Stronger™ Golden Ticket gives it to them.
Why So Many People Need Our Help
Although many people pity the homeless, few ask them, "What do you need to get better?" Those who do may not realize that many people are not even sure how to answer that question. A person struggling with mental illness and/or addiction needs more than just money or even a place to live. They need trained mental health professionals to provide them with the support, guidance, and treatment they deserve to start healing.
When examining the impact of being homeless on substance abuse recovery, there are several factors we have to consider:
A Constant Cycle of Stress and Self-Medicating
Can you imagine living on the street or in a camp made of garbage? The thought alone is painful for most, but this is the reality for more than 6,500 people in Las Vegas. In fact, the homeless population in the city increased 14% from 2022 to 2023. This means more people are finding themselves stranded in their own city, lost and alone, and only drifting farther from help each day.
The constant stress of living without a home, the safety risks, and the lack of stability in any area of life cause people to turn to drugs or alcohol as a solution. Of course, this only causes more problems in the long run and all but guarantees they'll stay on the street.
A Higher Risk of Crime
People who are homeless face a higher risk of criminalization and arrest. It is also understandable that those living without basic necessities have a higher chance of committing a crime, such as stealing, to attempt to survive.
Crime and substance abuse also have a strong connection. These people often become criminals out of necessity, and they are more likely to engage in illegal behavior to fuel their growing substance dependency.
Lack of Hope
It sounds like the least of a person's problems, but hope is really fundamental to their recovery. When people lose faith that life can get better, they also stop trying to improve their situation. They stop taking care of themselves. They abuse drugs or alcohol because they do not think it matters anyway.
We aim to show them that is not true. No matter how long they have struggled, everyone is someone to us. And they deserve an opportunity to make their lives better.
How We Make a Difference
Part of our assistance program includes free transportation to take people to and from their residences. This makes getting to and from addiction treatment easier while also lowering the risk they will make unhelpful decisions managing their days alone.
When we offer treatment to people, we want to give them everything they need to succeed. Sometimes, getting there is half the battle. We do our best to eliminate this challenge by making the commute to and from treatment easy and comfortable.
The Golden Ticket program aims to give people ongoing treatment that will benefit their lives in the long run. One-off donations of food or money do not usually lead to change. They offer short-term comforts that don't give someone what they need to actually get off of the street.
Furthermore, someone struggling with a substance use disorder is not thinking clearly. Their lives orbit their addiction, so they will take any opportunity they have to continue using rather than getting help.
We don't shame them for this. And we don't judge them until they change. Instead, we extend a hand and do our best to show people that they are not beyond help.
You Can Give Someone a New Chance
Download the Golden Ticket from our site, and hand them out! It is obviously their choice to claim it, but we want to make it easier for our community to help the homeless. Our courtyard is always open, so people have a chance to wait for assistance in a safe space at any time.
When our doors open at 8 a.m., one of our counselors will be there to listen and help people take the next steps toward a life free from addiction and hopelessness. It doesn't happen overnight, but our program can get someone off the street and in safe, comfortable housing.
Can You Really End Homelessness?
Our mission may seem impossible to some, but we believe that with the right resources and dedication, we can eliminate life on the street for thousands of people. It is truly amazing how many people change when they are given the chance.
We were founded on the idea that addressing the root causes of the homeless crisis can prevent it. This means going directly to people rather than hoping they reach out. We go in the trenches and meet people where they are, no matter what they are dealing with.
Most importantly, we develop individualized recovery programs for everyone, because there is no such thing as a one-size-fits all treatment for substance abuse or mental illness.
Honoring Every Person's Story
Despite the trauma and struggles they have faced, people living on the street have plenty to offer the world. Unfortunately, society often places the burden on them to fix their situations when it may be situations outside of their control that put them there in the first place.
We aim to provide people with resources they cannot get on their own. We also recognize that substance abuse and mental illness affect people's abilities to make the most beneficial choices for themselves. That is why we aim to give them more than just money. Instead, we offer them free counseling, free rehab, and free case management.
To us, every person is not just another case. They are valuable human beings who deserve support and compassion.
Laying the Ground for Growth
More than addiction treatment, our organization also helps people access stable housing, IDs, phones, internet, and other life essentials that make it easier for them to grow in the future.
With these resources, people can start planning ahead and consider a brighter future filled with opportunities. They can look for jobs. They can secure more resources, like Medicaid, to take care of themselves. And they can regain the belief that they can grow beyond their circumstances.
You Can Make a Difference
Please email [email protected] if you would like to learn more about our mission and services. Click the "donate" button at the top of our site to support our cause. Your contribution can directly work toward expanding our reach and helping more people receive the help they need through personalized homeless assistance.