Providing Temporary Housing for Families in Need
We know there are families in our community that need transitional support caused by economic hardship, personal loss, or domestic instability. Through our faith in grace and compassion, we believe that by providing these families with a stable and safe place to rest their heads, they can focus on building their future. Project Stepping Stone maintains three homes for families needing this type of help.
Project Stepping Stone was founded as a joint program of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and Lutheran Church of the Cross in 1989 to serve as emergency shelter for families in need. At the time, most families sheltered with us after such things as a house fire or job loss. The original seed money to start Project Stepping Stone came from The Lilly Endowment.
As Muncie’s demographic changed, our families have changed as well, and we now primarily serve families who are in situations of housing instability due to low paying jobs, lack of education/training and unexpected costs. We were joined in this mission by First Presbyterian Church in about 2011.
Up until 2015, Ralph & Deloris Eldridge owned all three houses and PSS rented the houses from them. Ralph and Deloris were an instrumental and vital part of PSS, often paying for all repairs themselves and mentoring the families in the program. We wouldn’t have succeeded without their generosity. In 2015, with an eye on the future, PSS held a capital campaign and raised enough money to purchase the houses outright. In 2017, to honor Ralph and Deloris’ legacy the houses were officially named the Eldridge Houses.
Shortly after purchasing the homes, we improved our partnerships with other local non-profit organizations, connecting our residents to other social services and professionally trained social workers.
Through all of this, PSS achieves its mission with an all-volunteer board, and no paid staff, depending on generous grants and donations from local churches, businesses, and individuals. Right now, we are looking to the future.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” – Matthew 25:40
Our Success Stories
Success Story 1:
A young mother with three young children had suffered through a bad marriage and divorce. Her ex-husband had controlled the finances and provided her no access to funds or credit. Since having a job is a requirement of staying in a PSS house and she needed housing, she was motived to find a job and then was accepted into our program. During her one year stay in a PSS house she enrolled her children in Head Start and made contacts in the social services network of Muncie. She also worked with partners and friends of the PSS board to reclaim her credit/tax history and apply for financial assistance to go back to school. Since moving out of the PSS house one year ago, she has maintained a (non-retail) part-time job, and lived in the same apartment while finishing her degree in a medical services field.
Success Story 2:
A father, recently divorced from his wife, had full custody of one child and part-time custody of his other two children. He worked full-time, and was accepted into the Habitat for Humanity program, but no current place to live. His children were staying with their mother most of the time, and he was living in a family member’s garage. PSS was able to move him into one of our houses, allowing his one child to live with him full-time, and the others to visit as per the custody agreement. He moved out into his own home.
Board Member Statement
As an all-volunteer organization, being a member of the PSS board means all-hands on deck. But it also means meeting and working directly with the families and making a difference in their lives. If you’re looking for a way to live a life connected to a community – this is a good way.