Non-Profit Spotlight – Front Steps Housing and Services
With our launch party coming up this weekend, we wanted to dedicate our non-profit spotlight feature this week to Front Steps Housing and Services, the charity we are fundraising for with the Holiday Hunt. This little-known non-profit has been life-changing for so many of our local homeless population, and they’re gearing up to make even more waves next year when they begin fundraising for a new facility in earnest. Please take a minute to read more about this amazing local charity, and help us send them home with a truckload of food and donations on Sunday!
A Little History
Combatting the perpetual cycle of homelessness is truly a cause truly for the masses if there ever was one, but since these issues are complex and expensive to solve, the masses are much less able to provide impactful solutions. This is why organizations like Front Steps take up the reins.
This little-known non-profit has been making big impacts behind the scenes for over 30 years. Front Steps Housing and Services was founded in 1986 by four sisters from the Congregation of St Joseph as Transitional Housing Inc (THI). Their original mission was to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for women who would otherwise have difficulties obtaining it. By providing reliable temporary housing options for women, THI was able to relieve a lot of the burden on emergency shelters. Their focus was on providing housing, education, and training to residents so that they could empower themselves to find more permanent housing. Their program had a success rate of over 98 percent.
However, in 2010, the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act (HEARTH Act) was passed, which changed how charities helping homeless populations could qualify for Federal funding. This act shifted Federal priorities for combatting homelessness away from charities supporting transitional housing and toward those focused on a permanent solution.
The organization transitioned to a permanency model, too. They expanded who they served (2013 marked the first male non-child resident) and renamed themselves Front Steps Housing and Services in 2014. ‘Front Steps’ was specifically chosen because it represents the home and new beginnings. Their current mission is to provide individuals and families with mental or economical disadvantages permanent supportive housing. But they don’t stop with a shelter – they are also dedicated to serving these under-serviced neighbors of ours though training, therapy, classes, and other lifelong solutions to increase self-sufficiency and independence.
Why Front Steps?
Homelessness is a vicious cycle often brought about by drug abuse or mental illness. Many of our city’s homeless population has never known a life off the streets. Others have never known a life without addiction. Front Steps board member Dia Vavruska told me about a heart-wrenching conversation she had with a Front Steps patron who informed her that walking into Front Steps was the first time anyone ever looked him in the eye. I’ve heard so many people tell me that respect is earned not given, but after hearing that story, I am not sure I believe that anymore. Belief in potential? Maybe that’s a better way.
Front Steps believes in potential. They stand firm in the thought that all people, regardless of circumstance, should be treated with compassion and respect. Fundamental to their core values is the belief that all people have the potential to make positive choices, that everyone is capable of making productive life changes, and that all people have the capability to make valuable contributions to the community. Because it’s exceptionally hard to do any of those things without a safe, warm place to sleep at night, they also think that everyone has a right to safe, affordable housing. They provide access to all of these things through their services. They truly want to end the cycle of homelessness – and they’re doing it through transforming lives.
Want to help Front Steps touch lives and end the cycle of homelessness in Cuyahoga County? Here are a few ways you can help.
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Want to do something FUN to help?
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