A nonprofit that provides recovery services for addicts, including those who are chronically homeless, died on Dec. 31, but its programs will live on.
Homeward Pikes Peak, an umbrella agency for homeless services in the Pikes Peak region, took over the programs operated by the financially troubled Harbor House Collaborative on Jan. 1, said Bob Holmes, Homeward’s executive director.
Holmes has had several stints on the Harbor House board, with the latest starting in 2011. He became acting co-executive director last summer when then-executive director Lyn Harwell resigned as the nonprofit’s financial troubles ballooned. Holmes said it was too challenging to do both jobs.
“We had a meeting with the (Harbor House) board, and my statement to the board was, ‘I’ve been doing this eight months; I don’t want to do it in this format anymore. The option is to get someone else to do the management, or turn the programs over to the Homeward Pikes Peak,’” Holmes said Thursday.
Harbor House has more than 200 clients in clinical programs, including a men’s addiction recovery program and several addiction recovery programs for women, and about 20 people in a residential recovery program. Holmes said all programs will continue, and no staff will be laid off.
“It may sound hackneyed, but seriously, this is all about the clients,” he said. “There were a lot of people depending on those programs. I didn’t feel it was ethical to let these people down.”
Homeward Pikes Peak operates on a budget of about $500,000, as did Harbor House. By bringing payroll and accounting operations under Homeward Pikes Peak and eliminating the executive director position from Harbor House, Holmes said the consolidation should save about $100,000 a year.
The consolidation should also help Homeward Pikes Peak secure grants to continue the Harbor House programs, Holmes said.
“I think the biggest thing was that grants really couldn’t be written until there was an executive director,” Holmes said. “I was co-acting executive director, but funders were looking for something more substantial, and there was never going to be enough money to hire an executive director.”
Harbor House had a roller-coaster history since it started in 2004. In early 2009, it almost ran out of money and had to back out of a plan to start a detox center. In 2011, Harwell became executive director, but apparently tried to expand too quickly, putting the nonprofit in a financial bind.
Holmes said he is working with Harbor House’s creditors, including the IRS and state Department of Revenue, to settle its liabilities.