Organization Name: Stephen Center
Mission: Stephen Center partners with the community, families and individuals to overcome homelessness, addiction and poverty.
Funded Program Description: Located in South Omaha, Stephen Center addresses the community challenges of poverty, homelessness, mental illness, and addiction. The organization’s sober campus includes a homeless emergency shelter, inpatient/outpatient co-occurring treatment, and permanent supportive housing for disabled and low-income individuals. The Kim Foundation funding helps provide co-occurring outpatient treatment services for individuals served in our Pettigrew Emergency Shelter, enhancing quality mental health, suicide prevention, and supportive services to help people achieve permanent housing destinations.
In 2020, 49% of Stephen Center shelter clients self-identified a mental health condition at intake and 43% indicated an alcohol/drug addiction. When these high behavioral healthcare needs are combined with additional stressors such as lack of shelter, food insecurity, and unemployment, crises are inevitable. Stephen Center meets the need of homeless clients in crisis by prioritizing them for immediate outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment through the on-campus Health, Empowerment, Responsibility and Opportunity (HERO) program. Case managers refer to the program based on the client’s individualized goals and services include a co-occurring evaluation by a licensed staff member at no cost to the individual.
Successes of Program or Inspirational Stories: When Lisa arrived at Stephen Center in August of 2020, she had moved around a lot due to her meth addiction. Lisa had crashed on friends’ couches, lived in her car, and been to two other local shelters. Then Lisa made a promise to her dad, an addict in recovery himself, that she would address her addiction.
Lisa knew her substance use and family history of addiction prevented her from maintaining housing and affected her mental health. She was referred to HERO’s intensive outpatient treatment program (IOP) for treatment and mental health services. For the next six months, Lisa attended structured group and individual outpatient therapeutic treatment, while at the same time meeting with shelter Case Manager Destiny to set goals for employment and housing.
When Lisa graduated from IOP mid-April, Destiny was cheering her on. “I am so proud of her,” Destiny said. “She is the #1 reason I love my job. To see her grow, mature, and develop along the way, you can’t put a price on that!” Lisa will soon move into permanent supportive housing at Stephen Center. She will have her own space to continue keeping her promise to her dad. Lisa is just one of 8 shelter guests who received mental health and addiction treatment through the HERO’s IOP program in the first three months of 2021 thanks to The Kim Foundation grant.