Anoka County’s only adult homeless shelter is moving to a new home
Stepping Stone Emergency Housing, the only adult homeless shelter in Anoka County, will be moving to a new Anoka location on Sept. 1.
The Cronin Building, an empty building on the Anoka Regional Treatment Center grounds will provide room for 60 beds, increasing the facility’s bed space from 20 beds in their current location.
Prior to the Sept. 1 move, the entire month of August will be focused on bringing thenew facility up to live-in conditions. Stepping Stone needs a large number of generous volunteers from the Anoka County and surrounding communities to contribute their time, household items and cash donations to this long awaited move. Like us on facebook and visit our web site at www.steppingstoneeh.org to see the various times and activities for volunteering, plus an extensive list of items for donations, both new or very gently used. Cash donations can also be made on the website.
Stepping Stone began serving homeless adults in 1994, and in 2005 received non-profit status with a Board of Directors appointed in 2007. Today, Stepping Stone has an annual budget in excess of $300,000, with nearly half of the funding coming from local churches, foundations, individuals and community groups. The new space will require more staff and money to operate, so the shelter has applied for grants from local businesses. One of those local businesses, Home Depot, has already provided monetary and equipment support for the move.
To provide for the increased staffing needed to run the ever-expanding shelter, Stepping Stone is already in the process of becoming a “teaching shelter,” one that will provide opportunities for post secondary students to learn and gain educational credit through internships with the shelter.
Anoka County has nearly 700 homeless adults, according to the county’s annual survey. SSEH served 190 of these 700 homeless adults in 2011. The number of homeless clients served and their ability to move successfully to independent living, jobs and schooling has dramatically increased since 2010.
This move to the Cronin Building will provide larger quarters to support the ever-growing number of homeless that, through family dysfunction, foreclosure, job loss and return from military duty overseas, turn to SSEH for a warm and safe place to live and earn independence once more.
Residents of the shelter are assigned a 90-day program that teaches life skills through education and one-on-one mentoring, along with post-graduate support after leaving the shelter. Of those who complete the program, 56 percent go on to find independent living, get jobs and/or go back to college.