Step 13 Denver

Step Denver

(Formerly Step 13) Step Denver is a men's residential recovery community that helps low-income men overcome the consequences of addiction and rebuild their lives through sobriety, work and accountability. 

​Step Denver address ​2029 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
Step Denver phone no​ ​(303) 295-7837
​Facility ​Shelter and peer recovery program

Step 13 Denver Phone Number - Guide | Denver Donate | Field Guide for the Homeless & Working Poor

Step 13 Denver Phone Number in Denver, Colorado. Step Denver is located on Larimer Street near the Denver 5-points and is a shelter and recovery community for men seeking to change their lives for the better.

Donating to Step Denver 

Employer Match Gifts are a great way to make a donation go further. Step Denver participates in matching gift programs for several corporations. To maximize your gift to Step Denver and your impact on the lives of hundreds of men overcoming addiction and homelessness, ask your employer if you are eligible for a company matching gift.

Bob Coté Legacy Fund

At Step Denver we would like to acknowledge and recognize the people who have shared with us that they have made a gift that will benefit and ensure Step Denver's mission and Bob Coté's legacy in perpetuity. Planned gifts make use of legal and/or tax strategies, which often produce a result that is very worthwhile. We will work with you to find a charitable plan that lets you provide for your family and support Step Denver.

Examples of planned gifts include the following:

  • Charitable Bequests – You want to leave Step Denver in your will and you ALSO want the flexibility to change your will in the event of life circumstances. This is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leaves Step Denver an amount of money and/or a percentage of your estate. Your bequest may also entitle your estate to an unlimited federal estate tax charitable deduction.
  • IRA Charitable Rollovers – If you are 70.5 years old or older, you can take advantage of this simple way to benefit Step Denver and receive tax benefits in return. You can give up to $100,000 from your IRA directly to a charity such as ours without having to pay income taxes on the money. This law no longer has an expiration date, so you are free to make annual gifts to Step Denver this year and well into the future. This is a great way for you to be able to see the difference you are making towards our mission during your lifetime.
  • Beneficiary Designation – Not everyone wants to commit to making a gift in their will or estate. Some prefer the increased flexibility that a beneficiary designation provides by naming Step Denver as a beneficiary to receive assets such as retirement plans, IRAs and life insurance policies. This is an easy way to give and is also very flexible!
  • Charitable Remainder Trust – If you have built a sizable estate and are also seeking ways to receive reliable payments, a charitable remainder trust may work for you. These gifts offer you tax benefits and the option for income.
  • Charitable remainder annuity trust – Each year the trust pays you the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Step Denver as a lump sum.
  • Charitable remainder unitrust – Each year you will receive a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Step Denver as a lump sum.
  • Step Denver Endowment Fund – Making a gift to the Step Denver Endowment Fund today ensures Step Denver's mission to continue well beyond our lifetimes. When you make a donation to our endowment, you give a gift with both immediate and long-term benefits. Endowment donations are invested. A portion of the annual income from the investment is used to address immediate needs at Step Denver. The remaining funds are reinvested to insure indefinite support.
  • Memorials and Tribute Gifts – Honor someone special with a future gift in their name. If you have a loved one who has been impacted by addiction or homelessness, establishing a memorial or tribute gift in their name is a meaningful way to honor your loved one or celebrate a special occasion such as a sobriety anniversary while supporting the work of Step Denver. This is a great way to generate a lasting tribute to your loved one and make a difference in the lives of our residents.

Becoming a Resident 

Step Denver helps highly motivated men, 21 years of age or older, that are suffering from the disease of addiction. Step is not a clinical rehabilitation facility, nor do we facilitate the detox process. Step provides recovery support services, employment assistance, life skills development, structure, and accountability to assist in the rebuilding of individuals' lives to overcome the consequences of addiction. If you or someone you know needs help, applications are accepted over the phone or in person, Monday through Thursday, from 8:00 am until 12:00 pm.

Applicants will participate in a brief screening process and then complete a full application if appropriate. All applications are taken for SAME DAY admission at 2:30 pm. An applicant should call or apply in person on the day they are prepared to enter the program.

Step Denver provides a structured environment that offers addiction recovery programming based on the Peer Recovery Support Model. Our men participate in Recovery Education Groups, 12 Step Fellowship Meetings, and are assigned a Recovery Support Manager that assists the residents in setting and reaching goals in all areas of their lives. In addition, Step Denver offers its residents life skills training that includes physical fitness, nutrition, financial budgeting, and family restoration, along with recreational and spiritual activities, to help provide self-care and life balance. Through our community partnerships, residents have access to education, counseling, opportunities and placement for employment, and career development.

Men, 21 and older, seeking to enter Step Denver may complete a telephone or walk-in interview and background check to apply for admission into the program. Due to city and county laws governing facilities of this type and to ensure a safe environment, Step Denver is not permitted to admit men convicted of violent or sexual offenses. There is no initial cost to be admitted to Step Denver. However, with the goal of the residents being accountable for their living costs, men will be required to pay $15/day, $75/week or $200/month for fees. Residents will also purchase and prepare their own food in the resident kitchen.

  • Applicants must be able to produce clean results for both a Breathalyzer Test and a Urinalysis Substance Abuse Test. An exception will be made for THC, which remains in the system for an extended period. An exception will also be made for benzodiazepines administered by a hospital, detox facility, treatment facility or a corrections facility to assist with physical withdrawal symptoms. Applicants must bring official documentation from the facility where these were administered. If admitted into the program, the resident will then be monitored to ensure that the levels of these substances are decreasing in the time frame that is normal for the elimination process from the client's system.
  • Applicants must be willing and able to work full-time, tax paying, payroll check jobs. No part-time, temporary, under the table cash employment is permitted.
  • Applicants may not receive any Government or Third Party (Family, Church, Friends, Other Non-Profit) financial assistance.
  • Due to City and County ordinances, applicants can not have any severe violence in their criminal backgrounds. Crimes involving death, sex, children, the use of weapons to harm, or the use of arson to harm, would preclude a candidate from admission into our program. Additionally, if an applicant is on probation, parole, supervision or has an open court case for any violent crime (assault, domestic violence, harassment, stalking, kidnapping, robbery or burglary) the City and County ordinances restrict our program from accepting such applicants until those criminal cases are completely closed. A background check will be performed on all applicants.
  • Applicants may not be on any long-term mind-altering medication. Medical marijuana or opiates for pain, benzodiazepines for anxiety or depression, Adderall for ADHD, or any other medication that can produce a high or euphoria are not permitted to be used while at Step Denver. There are alternatives and it is encouraged that you see a practitioner for suggestions. Mood altering medication such as Wellbutrin, Zoloft, etc., will be permitted with a prescription from a doctor.

If an applicant is accepted into the program, he will be admitted at 2:30 pm on the SAME DAY that the application is received. ).

Step Denver Administrative 

​Paul Scudo ​Executive Director
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Administrative​ ​Step Denver
Vincent Turnbull Director of Operations
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Administrative​ ​Step Denver
Meghan Shay
Director of Fund Development & Marketing
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Administrative​ ​Step Denver

Step Denver Donations 


Stephanie Landree
Director of Vehicle Donations
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Administrative​ Driven to Donate
Jessica Yadon
Assistant Manager of Vehicle Donations
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Administrative​ Driven to Donate

Step Denver Programs 

Patrick McNamara
Director of Programs
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Administrative​ Step Denver
Jacob Merrion
Sober Home Program Manager
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Administrative​ Step Denver
Sean Hoy
​Recovery Support Manager
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Administrative​ Step Denver
Santiago Ceja
​Recovery Support Manager
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Administrative​ Step Denver
Michael Holzer
​Recovery Support Manager
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Administrative​ Step Denver
Eddie Torres
​Recovery Support Manager
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Administrative​ Step Denver
Mark McCright
​Career Counseling Manager
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Administrative​ Step Denver
Carter Smith
​Admissions Coordinator
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Administrative​ Step Denver
Robert Villers
​Weekday Evening Facility Coordinator
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Administrative​ Step Denver
Jeffrey Weiss
​Weekday Overnight Facility Coordinator
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Administrative​ Step Denver
Michael Tiernan
​Weekday Overnight Facility Coordinator
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Administrative​ Step Denver
Manny Rodriguez
​Weekday Overnight Facility Coordinator
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Administrative​ Step Denver

Step 13 Denver

Bob Coté ​ 

Bob Coté grew up in Detroit, MI, and was a Golden Gloves boxer. Those experiences prepared Bob for the challenges life presented him. A successful career in sales took Bob to Denver in the early 80's; however, it was during this time that addiction took hold of Bob and would chart a different course for his life — a course marked by adversity and, ultimately, triumph.

Bob's addiction consumed him to the point he wound up living on Denver's skid row. In a moment of clarity, he saw the demise and occasional death of other homeless addicts. Bob knew he might suffer the same fate so he sought the assistance to break his cycle of addiction. He then became instrumental in helping other homeless addicts to gain their sobriety through the Step 13 organization.

Bob Coté became a fixture on Larimer Street. A towering presence of tough love, American Enterprise magazine described him as "a one-man alternative to the welfare state. Take one part Florence Nightingale, add three parts John Wayne, and one part cowboy poet…running a shelter that turns homeless drunks and junkies into productive citizens…." President/Founder of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise and longtime friend, Robert Woodson declared, "Bob not only was an advocate for the homeless, he became a witness to them."

Coté's unorthodox style didn't always sit well with politicians and other homeless advocates. The Denver Post once described Bob as a "Skid Row heretic" because he scoffed at the so-called traditional ways of treatment saying they "de-humanized the homeless." Coté also rejected any government funding for Step 13 declaring taxpayer dollars enabled non-profits to become addicted to government money and were unnecessary to run an effective program.

Bob's independent spirit gained national recognition for Step 13. President George H.W. Bush designated Step 13 one of his "Thousand Points of Light." ABC's 20/20 and John Stossel featured Bob and the simple, yet effective approach to helping residents become sober and self-reliant. Bob's philosophy of "Work works" – whereby residents are required to pay rent and be employed – received accolades from the Wall Street Journal to Reader's Digest.

Bob parlayed this recognition into tackling an issue near to his heart: Reforming Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Bob witnessed firsthand the devastating effect SSI had on the homeless: Individuals receiving SSI – originally designed to help those with disabilities – were using their checks to purchase drugs and alcohol. His outspoken passion caught the attention of then-Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who tapped Bob to lobby Congress and successfully incorporate changes to SSI under the Welfare Reform Act of 1996.

While Bob impacted public policy and gained recognition for Step 13, his legacy can ultimately be found in the thousands of men whose lives he touched at Step 13. Bob's legacy will continue for years to come in the staff that he shaped and in the men that will go through the doors of Step 13 and come out clean, sober, and self-reliant.

Bob Coté passed away on September 27, 2013. He was loved by many; he was respected by even more. He is greatly missed. While Step 13 has changed its name to Step Denver, we remain true to Bob's vision and his core principles of Sobriety, Work and Accountability. 

Board of Directors

​​Christopher Vincent ​Board Chair
​​Ken Bell Vice Chair​
​​Joe Henry Treasurer​
​​Dyanne Isaak ​Secretary
​David Cockrel​
​John Couzens​
​Steven Millette​
​Gloria Jara Price​
​Matthew Rippy​
​Leo Stegman​
​Matthew Tepoorten​
​Kent Christopher Veio​

Step 13 Sober Living | Denver

What comes after step 12? Step 13 sober living and rehabilitation.

Peter Droege discusses homelessness with 9News

Homelessness in Denver, Colorado, open discussion with Peter Droege, Executive Director of Step 13.

We here honored that 9News positioned Step 13 as a thought leader on homeless issues in light of a recent study by the University of Denver that rightfully concluded that more needs to be done to address the issue. However, assertions in the news story by DU students that laws regulating homelessness are too burdensome do not take into account that those laws are also there to protect the homeless, who among those most victimized by violent crime in our city.

Homelessness is a big problem in Denver and we applaud those who are seeking solutions. Mayor Michael Hancock and his team have worked hard to address the complex issues around this subject. In particular, Reggie Huerter, featured in the 9News story, is a true champion for the homeless in Denver. She has been to Step 13 and we look forward to working with her more in the future (even though we never have and never will accept any sort of government funding).

People are homeless for any number of reasons – economic, mental illness, addiction and others. The social movement toward simply providing them with housing first without clear accountability that leads to behavioral change simply changes their location without addressing the root cause of their homelessness.

It is important to have a balanced approach. Homeless who are elderly, disabled, or mentally ill may, at times, simply require food and housing and it is a credit to our city that organizations are working to achieve this goal.

Denver is a friendly city – no one goes hungry in this town – hot meals and sandwich lines are available all over the city. The city does a good job providing emergency shelter when it gets cold.

For those who are homeless because of addiction, easy access to food and shelter means they have no reason to change their behavior.

They are not just harming themselves – their families, friends, and community are also impacted. Laws should be in place to make it uncomfortable for these individuals to continue their self-destructive, lawbreaking lifestyles. It is only then that some of them may choose to enter a program like Step 13 where they are required to embrace the principles of sobriety, work, and accountability with the goal of achieving a better life for themselves.

There is a soft form of discrimination that says that homeless people are unable or unwilling to work. As Step 13 we see daily that men who are homeless or near-homeless as a result of an alcohol and/or drug addiction when entering our program will readily take steps to become self-sufficient, tax-paying citizens when given the opportunity. Within two weeks of entering our program nearly all of our men are placed in full-time, tax-paying jobs through our innovative partnership with Goodwill Industries, which we partner with to provide an in-house Goodwilll Career Center staffed fulltime at Step 13. Men in our program are given the resources and support to "get a job, get a better job, get a career."

Why are laws regulating homelessness important? For one thing, it costs up to $200 a day to feed a heroin addiction. People who are homeless come up with that money by dealing drugs or other crimes. Denver has the second highest rate in the nation of people dying from overdosing on heroin. Many neighborhoods are seeing an increase in violent crime and the Ballpark Neighborhood where Step 13 is located is no exception.

Laws are in place to protect people, especially those on the streets. While it is important for our communities to be safe for all of us, no one suffers more from crime than the homeless.

Laws regulating homelessness are not a burden to the homeless, they protect the homeless and allow people to be safe and businesses to provide jobs and allow our community to prosper.

Step 13 is deeply grateful to the Denver Police for all they do for us. They have an incredibly tough job but they do it with courage, integrity, and service.

If Denver is to become a truly great city we must face the issues around homelessness with an approach that balances compassion with the clear expectation that healthy, capable individuals should be put on the pathway to self-sufficiency, not dependence on government programs. 

Step 13 Colorado Christian University Case Study

Step 13 Equipping men to lead a new life in recovery

Author: Krista Kafer
Contributors: Cherri Parks and Sarah Scherling
Editor: Gabe Knipp
Graphic Designer: Bethany Bender

"Only in America and with the grace of God can a man rise from gutter to an abundant, productive life," said Bob Coté, and he knew it from experience. In 1983, Coté left a life of alcohol addiction and founded Step 13, a program that has helped thousands of men transition from the street to a life of sobriety and productivity. Coté understood that, "any system or program that takes responsibility away from a capable person dehumanizes that person." Misdirected kindness demands nothing of the recipient and enables him to remain in the bondage of dependency. Real help requires change. Although Coté passed away in 2013, Step 13 remains a place where men can begin again. Step 13's successful transitional living program for addicted homeless men emphasizes sobriety, responsibility, and work. On a given day, Step 13 has 70 - 75 residents. Some stay one day, others a year. While the median age is 38, there are men in their twenties and sixties and every age in between. To maintain a safe environment, individuals with violent criminal records, sex offenders, individuals who take psychotropic drugs, or those with outstanding warrants are not admitted into the program. When a man commits to Step 13, he must be sober. Many residents come from a detox or a treatment program. He must also be committed to staying sober. Residents are required to attend Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous-based meetings Monday through Thursday evenings and to take Antabuse (Disulfiram) three times a week. They are tested for drugs; failure to pass a Breathalyzer or urinalysis results in immediate discharge from the program. However, "failure need not be fatal," as Coté used to say. Men can come back in as few as two page 2 days having been through detox and showing a desire to recommit themselves to recovery.

Every resident must work. Between 7:30 AM and 4:00 PM residents must be working, looking for work, or attending classes. Residents who have trouble finding a job can receive a short-term job at one of Step 13's in-house companies such as DetailWorks, which provides automobile detailing, or Logoworks, which produces customized hats, t-shirts, mugs, totes, and pens. Residents also repair donated cars for resale. Three to four hundred cars are donated to Step 13 each year. In addition to work requirements, residents make their own meals in Step 13's spacious kitchen and pay rent of $10 a day or $60 a week. Residents start their stay in a common dorm room. As they progress through the program, they receive the option of renting a private room and can eventually move into an affordable apartment. After 90 days in the program, residents can earn a weekend pass to stay off-premises. The ability to progress to more private living quarters or to spend the weekend away creates a kind of "constructive envy" that motivates residents to persevere. Paying rent instills a sense of responsibility and commitment. Twenty percent of Step 13's operating expenses are covered by resident fees; the remainder comes from proceeds of the Vehicle Donation Program and private contributions. The emphasis on responsibility is not accidental; it is essential for rehabilitation. The sense of accomplishment helps residents overcome the shame of past alcohol and drug abuse. "When you're drunk you feel sorry for yourself and want a lot of pity. Unfortunately, you can get a lot of pity. But pity does not help," reflects former Step 13 resident John who committed to Step 13 after years of drinking and racking up five DUIs. "At Step 13 you don't get a lot of pity; you get a good dose of reality.

- Jason Christensen,
Director of Operations

If you want to stay there you have to stay sober, get a job and pay your own way. It was just what I needed, and it paid off." John is now working, living in an apartment and is rebuilding his relationship with his sons. "I'm so grateful to Step 13 for making me a responsible person again." In addition to providing a living space and a structured routine for sober living, Step 13 helps residents remove barriers to self-sufficiency. "We ask ourselves, 'What are the causes of poverty?' when a better question is, 'What are the causes of wealth?'" says Jason Christensen, Director of Operations. "We know that personal responsibility, perseverance, and sobriety are key to living a productive and meaningful life. Step 13 helps meet guys where they're at and equips them for a new life."

When a man commits himself to Step 13, he is evaluated in seven categories—health, transportation, employment, education, mental health, housing, and sobriety—on a scale of 1 to 5, with a score of "3" considered stable. The goal is to have each man scoring a 4 or 5 when he leaves the program. Step 13 provides residents with free dental care, eye glasses, and introductory computer classes. An on-site clinic is open several days a month. Step 13 is developing an alumni mentoring program, chapel services, and more work and educational opportunities. "In the Step 13 environment," says Gent, a resident, "I was fitted to get myself physically able to go to work. I had resources available to me there. I started working and got myself back into society." 

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