Tour Guide

Elkhorn Hills Tours the Stephen Center

Stephen Center, Omaha

A huge thank you to Janet and Stan Holt for organizing our Adult Ministries tour of the Stephen Center–our last summer tour of 2019.  Janet and Stan have been volunteers at the Center for several years.  For many years Gayle and Ray Preston also helped the Center by delivering left over food from our Wednesday night meals. 

All members of our tour really enjoyed learning about The Stephen Center!  Much more was involved than many of us expected.  Much more than is included in this article.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for many of the less fortunate in our community.  It’s so great to know this is available in Omaha.  What a blessing!

If you think this might be a good fit for your time and talents, talk to Janet or Stan.  I’m sure they’ll give you the information you’ll need to be a great volunteer. Stay tuned for 2020 Summer Tours.

About the Stephen Center

Founded in 1984 by Sharon and Dick McNeil their mission is Help, Hope, and Heroes.  The Center partners with the community, families and individuals to overcome homelessness, addiction, and poverty.  The Stephen Center operates four primary programs:  An Emergency Shelter, HERO Substance Abuse Treatment Program, Permanent Supportive Housing Apartments, and a Thrift Store. 

Pettigrew Emergency Shelter

Pettigrew Emergency Shelter

The Pettigrew Emergency Shelter is the only substance free shelter in the Omaha metro area providing a safe environment for both individuals and families.  There are 32 men’s beds, 32 women’s beds, and 5 family units. 

Meals are available three times a day/seven days a week at Fran’s Diner in the shelter.  A background check is required for those who request shelter and requires each Client to meet with a case manager within 72 hours of their arrival to define barriers and set goals.  The average stay in the shelter is 30 days. 

An accountability community in the shelter requires all clients to sign up for chores to keep the environment clean and hospitable.  Both the director of the shelter and the food service director are products of the great support they received at the shelter several years ago. Volunteers are a staple in the shelter office and kitchen, providing great support doing everything from processing a client through intake to serving meals offering 36,000 hours of service annually.  There are usually at least 400 volunteers helping in various capacities.

HERO Substance Abuse Treatment Program

The HERO Substance Abuse Treatment Program is a state-licensed, nationally accredited treatment program for low income and homeless individuals.  Long term and short term residential care is available and offer25 both intensive inpatient and outpatient treatment.  This program is staffed by a team of counselors and therapists from a variety of backgrounds.  Substance abuse evaluations are available at a cost based on a sliding scale.  The average treatment in the HERO program is 6-10 weeks. Long term residential care can average anywhere from 6 to 9 months.  The Center for Recovery is a 24 hour staff secured facility. Trauma Informed Care and motivational approaches are used to instill self-efficacy and hope.

Permanent Supported Housing (PSH apartments)

The Permanent Supported Housing (PSH apartments) is HUD supported housing with occupancy based on income, disability and homelessness status.  Housing and supportive services help individuals and families move from homelessness to independent, supportive living.  61 furnished apartments are for rent, including 40 single room units, 15 one-bedroom, 4 two-bedroom, and 2 three-bedroom units.  Rent is set at a flat fee that includes utilities, wi-fi, access to case managers, supportive services and three meals a day at Fran’s Diner.  All residents are subject to random drug and alcohol screening on a regular basis.  Applicants must qualify at or below 30% of the area’s median income and provide verification of special needs status.  Background checks and an application fee are required.  The average stay in the PSH apartments is 1.7 years.

Stephen Center Thrift Store

Stephen Center Thrift Store

In 2004, the Stephen Center Thrift Store opened at 5128 S. 24th St.  Donations are re-sold into the community with all proceeds supporting Stephen Center programs.  Clients staying at the Emergency Shelter who need clothing, coats, or shoes are provided vouchers to shop free of charge.  The thrift store provides jobs and job training to clients that are rebuilding their lives.  Donations of clothing, furniture and household items are accepted and free in home pick-up for large items can be scheduled.


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