55-year-old Kipp Staropoli never thought she’d become homeless. She worked full time, was a homeowner, and was someone who often gifted goods, food, and clothing to those less fortunate on the streets.

“Don’t ever think you’re above it,” said Kipp. “Because you know what, you could be one paycheck away from being homeless in this day in age.”

Sadly, after maintaining her sobriety for 28 years, during the pandemic, like so many, Kipp struggled, and when she lost connectivity with her daughter, she relapsed and soon found herself living in her car.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” said Kipp. “I could hardly get myself to recovery … I lost everything, except for my cat.”

When she connected with Hospitality House for help, she had just graduated in-patient treatment and had nowhere to go. She and her cat Tuna were welcomed with open arms into Utah’s Place, our physical shelter, without judgment. With sobriety achieved, she began taking steps to rebuild her life, which included weight loss management to improve her overall health (she lost 45 lbs.), surgery for her back, one-on-one case management, and creating a plan to return to housing and stability. Tuna also benefitted from the pet program at Hospitality House for food, veterinary care, and more.

“I am ever so grateful for Hospitality House,” said Kipp. “They were great to me. They were wonderful to me. They serve you hand and foot; they really do. Anything I asked for, they helped me.”

Today, Kipp has been permanently housed for just over two months, maintains her sobriety, and has reunified with her family. One day she would like to pay it forward and help other women overcome abuse and addiction and rebuild their lives, just as she did with a little love and support from our community.

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