At the beginning of February 2019, Pathways opened a brand new emergency shelter program, Stepping Stones, in unused space of Pathways' downtown building. Stepping Stones has the capacity to house 20 women and children nightly in a residential living space.
Stepping Stones provides homeless women and women with children with emergency overnight shelter while offering supportive services designed to assist them in achieving permanent housing and economic stability. Basic needs such as food, clothing, personal care items, and diapers are provided. Time-specific goals, related to achieving housing stability, are established by guests with assistance from the program social worker. Guests meet with their social worker weekly for assistance in obtaining established goals and accessing referrals as appropriate. Because the path out of homelessness is different for everyone, each woman and family's length of stay is determined based on their individualized case plan.
Pathways works with the local rapid rehousing programs and housing voucher assistance programs to help guests access permanent housing when appropriate. Guests have access to the life skill, employment readiness, and financial literacy classes provided through the Day Center, as well as have classes based on their needs for independent living skills.
The opening of Stepping Stones was made possible by support from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and EBSCO Community Impact.