The Shoe Bus is Coming!

The Shoe Bus is a program that is open to everyone and makes its way to various locations throughout the year.  It is a great way to replace kids shoes for the summer or to get ready for back to school.  Adult shoes are also available.  Shoes are either new, or in excellent used condition.  This program has no registration and no income guidelines.  In fact by purchasing shoes at a great price, proceeds go to Good in the Hood, who help families with food insecurity.  Help us spread the word about this great program and check it out on June 21st at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (map) from 4pm-6pm.  See more here: Shoe-Away-Hunger.
Fare for All will be going on inside Prince of Peace at the same time. Save money on groceries and by purchasing with them, their buying power helps to keep costs low for all.  It is a win-win program!  There is no registration and no income guidelines See more here: Fare For All.

Stabilizing families’ housing

If you could help save your neighbor from homelessness, would you take five minutes to do it? A contribution today to STEP’s Housing Assistance Program will assist a St. Louis Park family in danger of losing their housing due to a temporary financial crisis.
According to the U.S. Census, 36.8% of St. Louis Park renters pay more than 30% of their income on housing. Due to a lack of affordable options, many low-income families spend well above half of their income in housing costs. When so much of your income is taken from housing, it is easy to imagine how difficult it is to build savings to weather a job loss, health problem, or another crisis. Something as common as a car repair can endanger a family’s ability to make rent that month.
STEP responds to families facing a one-time financial crisis with our Housing Assistance Program. We evaluate each individual’s situation and provide those in greatest need with a one-time emergency assistance grant. The program keeps families in their homes.
Unfortunately, we only have resources to fulfill a segment of the need. Once a family has initially lost their housing, the cycle can be hard to recover from. Fewer landlords will rent to families with eviction-related court records. People with poor credit and housing records often pay more for poorer housing.
We can prevent or stop the cycle for a family with emergency financial assistance. If you are interested in helping ensure a St. Louis Park family stays housed and secure, donate to STEP’s Housing Assistance Program, and together we will help our neighbors in need.
Please take a moment and donate whatever you are comfortable. We need to raise at least $15,000 in order to maintain our current level of emergency housing support.
Thank you.

For more information about housing needs in St. Louis Park, click here to read Sun Sailor article.

Volunteer Appreciation Night

Every year STEP hosts an event to give back a little of what our wonderful regular volunteers give to us and to the community.  This year’s Italian theme was a hit.  As a staff we gave it our all with a dance number and there was even an appearance by TOMMIE Mato–our new tomato friend! 

 

We enjoy hosting this event to show our sincerest graduate to the over 120 weekly volunteers donating their time, adding up to 
the equivalent of more than
nine full-time staff members.
 Thank you!

See our Facebook album for all the pictures from the event! 

Thank you music fans!

Thanks to everyone who bought Cities 97 Sampler Volume 28.  We are so excited to find out that we received a grant this year.

Rising from Poverty

A comprehensive, well-researched series from the Star Tribune is out and explores the challenges escaping poverty and how where you grow up can make a big difference.

At STEP we see families come from all different backgrounds and situations, but many struggles families are confronted with are the same. The Rising from Poverty

three part series can be found here and is well worth the read.

Anderson Companies talks about supporting STEP

This a great article written by Anderson Companies about why they support STEP through donations, volunteering and sponsorship of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train.

Click here to read the article.

STEP rides. Helping people get to where they need to go.

Did you know STEP offers free rides to appointments for your neighbors with limited access to transportation?
I sat down with the transportation coordinator, Claudia Kennedy, to learn more about it.
We talked about the program, the drivers, the riders and the challenges of connecting the two. Claudia explains, “There’s a lot of people here in St. Louis Park who need help getting places. 30% of our clients tell us they have no other means of transport. They rely totally on the STEP ride program.  Some are very elderly or have physical limitations, which make getting to and from bus stops impossible. Others simply can’t afford to take a cab or use Metro Mobility. For them, our volunteer drivers are the only way they can make a medical appointment or come and pick up food here at STEP.”

Claudia wanted to stress, “These rides are given by volunteer drivers in their own personal vehicles. They don’t get paid for doing this, they do it because they want to help. They do it because they enjoy getting to know the clients and form relationships with them. Some of them donate their time almost daily. Others volunteer between busy schedules once every few weeks, when they can. All of them do it for free and the client they are driving pays nothing for the service. It’s absolutely free to the client”.

“It’s quite challenging sometimes,” Claudia continued, “We only have a certain amount of people who are willing to be drivers for us. If a couple of them go on vacation, or someone gets sick or work gets busy for them, all of a sudden we can be in a pretty tight situation. We almost always find a way to make it work. Sometimes clients are able to change the days of an appointment and sometimes drivers make an extra special effort. We rarely have to turn a client in need down. Last month we gave dozens of rides and were only unable to fill one request. I think that’s pretty good considering the scheduling challenges we face. Still, it’d be nice if we had a few more drivers so we would never have to say “no” to anyone…”
I asked Claudia about any memorable situations. Claudia had no trouble recalling one ride in particular that got very serious and had the driver going way above and beyond.
“Our driver learned the client he had just driven to a doctor’s appointment had been taken to hospital with serious health issues. As soon as he heard this he made the decision to go pick up a family member. He drove them to the hospital so they could be there with her, comfort her and advocate on her behalf. There was no question in the driver’s mind. He knew that’s what he needed to do for her.”
STEP drivers all receive a background check and must have a reliable vehicle. They also tend to be incredibly generous people who are very much appreciated! Does this sound like you? We need more drivers!
Heather Alvey, my wife, volunteers as a STEP driver. Like most of us she’s very busy and can only do one ride every few weeks or so. It’s not much, but to the person receiving the ride it means a lot. Can you help too?
If you’d like to help please complete a volunteer interest application at this linkand return to Allison at allison@stepslp.org or 6812 W Lake St, St. Louis Park, MN 55426.
Jason Alvey – STEP board member
The Transportation Program is largely funded by a generous grant from the Park Nicollet Foundation.