Creating an environment that empowers women in crisis to achieve positive long-term change.


How does a woman in Iowa end up homeless or in prison?

In recent decades, the number of women experiencing homelessness or incarceration has increased significantly.


As the wage gap between the rich and poor increases, women who were raised in a traumatic environment have less capacity for the education and support they need to earn a livable wage that can support their family. Domestic violence, which was often witnessed in early childhood, may become the norm in adulthood, increasing trauma and feelings of hopelessness. Women in these untenable circumstances often turn to substance use to cope with compounding trauma or provide for their family’s basic needs.

Substance use often leads to homelessness or incarceration for low-income women, who have been disproportionately impacted by the emphasis on arresting for low-level, substance use crimes. Further, a Black person is 10 times more likely to be arrested for substance use possession than a White person, even though Black people do not use drugs any more than White people.

Once someone has become homeless or involved with the criminal justice system, they are likely to lose their home, job, children, and feelings of self-worth, increasing the likelihood of subsequent domestic violence, substance use, homelessness, and incarceration.

At The Beacon, we seek to disrupt this cycle by providing a supportive, trauma-informed environment so that women in crisis can live more productive, fulfilling lives.


With only 5% of the world’s female population, the United States accounts for nearly 30% of the world’s incarcerated women.


Changing the approach.

Research fails to show positive outcomes from incarcerating people with substance use disorders as a way to deter them from continuing to use drugs, yet U.S. prison spending increased by almost 600% from 1980 to 2013, largely due to increasing rates of arrest for low-level drug offenses.

The Beacon aims to provide a new, more effective approach to helping women recover from trauma, substance use, and mental illness to save taxpayer money and create healthier individuals, happier families, and better communities – for all of us.


Cost per day per person
at The Beacon


Cost per day per person
in Iowa prison

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