Aug 25, 2010 8:05 PM by John Romero

Former homeless man uses detox to turn over new leaf

Kevin Loveall's problems started at an early age. "For 34 years I drank. I just never was serious about staying sober and getting help." he explains, dressed in his green inmate uniform, "I wound up homeless and I wound up here." He's talking about the El Paso County Detox Center. A year into the new building it's getting praise for its work with the homeless population. "Jail was not the option (for homeless people)." explains El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, "The different homeless shelters around wouldn't let them in even if they had the scent of alcohol on them. So we saw it as a great opportunity to broaden the level of services that we have down at our detox."

For police like M.J. Thompson with CSPD's Homeless Outreach Team it's become a valuable tool in helping some homeless get on the right path. "Primarily the best tool we use is telling them we can safely get you off the streets tonight and start your recovery process and maybe even eventually translate that into a long term recovery." he explains.

Kevin just may be one of those success stories. He credits programs both in jail and through the Detox Center in helping him kick his addictions. He says getting help wasn't easy, but it was very necessary. "(Before) I wouldn't have anywhere to go if I got out. That's just a revolving door with me." he says, "The help is out there. It just comes down to letting go of your pride and swallowing humility." Now just a few days from his release, Kevin is finding secure housing for the first time in years. He moves forward confident that he can stay away from alcohol and on the right track. "Now I'm 44 years old." he says, "But I'd like to think I have at least 20 years to do something good with my life."



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