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’s 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.
Mental health issues are a very real problem in our community, and rates of occurrences are significant among people experiencing homelessness. For example, in 2019, 55 percent of Stephen Center shelter clients self-identified a mental health condition at intake and 45 percent 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. Stephen Center’s state-licensed, CARF-accredited HERO program provides structured group and individual outpatient therapeutic treatment services that can range from four to six months in duration. If inpatient residential treatment is recommended, most shelter clients remain housed, with wrap around services, until a spot becomes available. Stephen Center has identified co-occurring treatment as an essential treatment component to assist in engaging individuals, as well as stabilize factors that have contributed to their homeless status.
Successes of Program or Inspirational Stories: Case Manager, Lindsey remembers the first time she spoke with Tiffany, a woman requesting shelter at Stephen Center. “I was completing her phone screen, and despite being told we were no longer taking any new intakes for the day, Tiffany was determined to come,” Lindsey said. “I thought, ‘Here comes trouble!”
The next day when Lindsey sat down with Tiffany, she realized that Tiffany wasn’t going to be trouble, but instead was living a troubling lifestyle of addiction. The drug addiction was slowly, but surely taking Tiffany’s life. Lindsey referred Tiffany to HERO’s intensive outpatient treatment program (IOP). Lindsey continued to meet with Tiffany throughout her journey. Tiffany learned how to create and set healthy boundaries with herself and others. She grieved losses in her life that her addiction had numbed. And she learned how to love herself. With God’s endless grace and Tiffany’s perseverance, Tiffany successfully graduated HERO’s IOP and is now empowering others on their recovery journeys while still faithfully walking in hers.
Tiffany is one of 13 shelter guests who received mental health and addiction treatment through the HERO’s IOP program in the first three months of 2020 thanks to The Kim Foundation grant. These services continue despite social distancing guidelines. All group and individual therapy sessions for the program are conducted through secure web-based platforms to protect the physical health of clients while helping with mental health concerns. Since January, six clients have completed HERO intensive outpatient program.
Chief Development Officer