The journey of Stepping Stones Alliance Center began years ago with the experience of a volunteer at the Hermiston Warming Station. The satisfaction of seeing the positive impact on others of a safe, secure shelter during cold winter months, led to the realization that for a larger portion of the year no such resource was available. Whatever the weather, cold or hot or wet or windy, the lack of shelter from the elements and any assurance of personal safety became a concern that couldn’t be disregarded.
Our Leadership Team
SOME MEMBERS OF OUR ADVISORY COUNCIL
Left to right: Donna Carlson, Lee Carlson, Mike Castellaw, Janeal Castellaw, Dawson Quinton, Phillip Spicer Kuhn
In June of 2019, a visit was made to Walla Walla Washington where a sleep center operates that is open throughout the year. Additionally, it provides small housing units for one to two people. With that visit, the dream of providing safe year-round shelter for individuals in West Umatilla County was born and the work started!
More visits were made by what was now a small group with a shared dream. Research took them from the Walla Walla Sleep Center to Watered Garden (Joplin, Missouri) to the City of Refuge (Atlanta, Georgia) to Bybee Lakes Hope Center (Portland Oregon), Other Side Academy (Salt Lake City, Utah), The Church in the Park (Salem, Oregon), Community First (Austin, Texas) to the point of organizing under the new name of Stepping Stones of Hermiston. When interested neighboring cities and communities joined the group, the name evolved to Stepping Stones Alliance.
It was recognized that rural Eastern Oregon was different from large cities and unique from even other rural areas. It was also recognized that some individuals simply want a safe place to sleep at night, while others long to find their way toward housing of their own but face obstacles such as skill and resource gaps, and a mindset of flickering hope.
Stepping Stones wishes to be there for each of those individuals. Our intent is to provide night time emergency shelter as well as a navigation center that will make support services accessible. For those committed to moving forward, transitional housing will add a level of stability while working toward permanent housing of their own.
It has taken time, research and work and it will take more before Stepping Stones Center is a full reality, but reaching out and helping individuals in need is worth our effort. People are important, whatever their circumstances. Our hope is to provide a welcoming and enlightening environment for those who need a hand – a far cry from tent cities huddled in dark spaces.
Stepping Stones Alliance sincerely thanks you for your interest and support to help us help those in need.