Our Step

Our Step is a collaborative housing initiative started by Seven Hills Homeless Shelter, Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, Samaritan Community Center, the University of Arkansas Community & Family Institute and the Cobblestone Project to provide people and families a point for breaking the cycle of homelessness and domestic violence by eliminating the initial costs to secure affordable housing.

 

Participants are selected by referral from an affiliated non-profit agency that works to end issues of homelessness and/or domestic violence.

Our Step began as a result the 1,287 Stand Up & Be Counted Homeless Awareness Rally.

contact: ourstep@cobblestoneproject.org | follow: @OurStepNWA

Stories

  • Curtis…surrounded by A Community Without Need November 1, 2011We don’t get to post many stories from the Our Step program. If you know anything about the program, then you know that most of our friends that enter the program are dealing with issues of domestic violence and  we try to be as sensitive as possible during these times. Our latest candidate, Curtis entered the ...
  • Homeless Students in Fayetteville Public Schools October 29, 2011This past week we had the pleasure of having Mark Horvath, founder of InvisiblePeople.tv, come back to Northwest Arkansas for a short visit.  Mark first visited NW Arkansas in 2009 to share his story at 1,287 Stand Up & Be Counted Homeless Awareness Rally. Mark had an opportunity to sit down with Marian Riner, Families in ...

Videos


Partner Organizations


Opportunities to Serve

Why Our Step?

  • Affordable housing was identified as a critical issue facing NW Arkansas in the November 2008 NWA Community Indicators Project Report published by Dr. Kevin M. Fitzpatrick of the University of Arkansas Community and Family Institute.
  • The barriers of entry into affordable housing can sometimes be insurmountable by people seeking to resume life after coming from a background of homelessness, domestic violence or poverty.
  • It costs approximately $3,000 in initial costs to secure residency in local apartments or rental housing in NW Arkansas.
  • When these costs are required against a backdrop of domestic violence, poverty or homelessness, they are effective & impenetrable barriers in preventing people from reestablishing a firm foundation to gain employment, gain security, access services, etc.
  • An adequate program to provide affordable entry into affordable living arrangements does not exist for “Our step” referrals from regional shelters and non-profit service providers.

For more information, please send an email to OurStep@cobblestoneproject.org

The Program

If you are homeless or in a domestic violence situation, please go to the nearest NW Arkansas homeless service provider and inquire about the Our Step program.

Our Step participants are referred to the program by a referring non-profit agency that works with the homeless and/or victims of domestic violence.

Process for application:

  • Referring agency case managers recommend participants currently working through case management service.
  • Recommended participants apply & are accepted to Our Step program based on consensus decision of the Our Step steering committee.
  • Our Step participants are then moved into housing based on availability of funding and housing.

If you are homeless service provider or case manager, please contact OurStep@CobblestoneProject.org for program packet that includes:

  • Program policies
  • Referring agency recommendation packet
  • Participant application packet
  • Documentation of Homelessness

How you can help

  • Organize a small groups to collect needed items for moving into an apartment.
  • Help Our Step participants prep and move into their new home.
  • Be an on-going support resource to help with gaining employment, assisting with basic life skills (i.e. budgeting, cooking, etc.)

In Kind Needs

  • Furniture
  • Household Staples:  dishes, towels, cleaning supplies, etc.
  • Pantry Filling Food
  • Financial donations
  • Appliances:  washers, dryers, microwaves, refrigerators, etc.

Volunteer Needs

  • Collection of donated goods
  • Assistance with preparation for move in
  • Assistance with moving people into housing
  • Open hearts and communities to welcome in a new friend


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