The Salvation Army’s Stepping Stones Transitional Housing program provides housing for homeless families as they work their way back to stability and being able to secure housing on their own. Just days before Christmas, the program is still making a difference.
A woman who asked to be called Peggy and her two sons, ages 10 and 8, were recently given the keys to a three-bedroom unit at Stepping Stones, where they will spend the next two years. “It means hope to me because I finally have a chance to restart,” she said.
“It is a Christmas miracle for her and her children,” said Brian Pickering, the Salvation Army’s communication director.
The apartments at Stepping Stones are all furnished, including a fully stocked kitchen and some food in the refrigerator. Peggy’s new unit also came complete with a small tree and some Christmas presents under it. She said her sons were “blown away by the toys. They are ecstatic.”
Peggy said she has been staying at the Union Gospel Mission’s Women’s Shelter, but her stay end date was Dec. 27. She called the Salvation Army for help last week and to check up on an application she had submitted in October to Stepping Stones. There is a waiting list for the program and a family just moved out, making room for Peggy and her boys to move in.
“They welcomed us with open arms,” she said.
Peggy worked with Career Path Services to get a job at the Salvation Army Thrift Shop and plans to study for her GED.
Stepping Stones is a 30-unit apartment complex that is open to homeless families with children who are at or below 30 to 50 percent of the Spokane County median income. Families take Life Skills classes while parents work to address the issues that made them homeless so that they can afford their own housing when their two-year stay is complete. They have access to classes in everything from finance to self-esteem.
Although there is a waiting list for Stepping Stones, the apartment complex is not full, Pickering said. Not all the three-bedroom units are furnished, so they are not all in use. “There are six units sitting there without furniture, without anything,” he said.
The Salvation Army is looking for donors to help furnish the vacant apartments so they, too, can be given to homeless families in need. The approximate cost to provide living room furniture, beds, dressers, linen, kitchenware and other necessities is $4,000 per unit.
Anyone interested in making a donation toward furnishing the apartments can contact Stepping Stones manager Erin Kauffman at (509) 325-7288, ext. 2303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.