Life Skills Training and Educational Programs, Inc.
Life Skills Training and Educational Programs, Inc. (LifeSTEPS) is a 501c(3) Nonprofit serving those in need with affordable husing and supportive services. LifeSTEPS brings years of experience and specialization in social services to serve low-wage earners living in affordable housing, including children, teens, and adults. The STEP in LifeSTEPS stands for ‘Skills Training and Educational Programs’ and is the heart of our mission.
We believe community development is built ‘One STEP at a time.’ Our vision is that every person touched by LifeSTEPS will be empowered with the skills, resources, and support to maintain stable housing and break the cycle of poverty.
Our founders believe that building affordable housing is only the first step. It is also essential to provide meaningful programs that empower people to move forward in their lives.
The mission of LifeSTEPS is to provide effective educational and supportive services to maximize the strengths of individuals and build resilient communities.
INTEGRITY: We demonstrate integrity in all of our dealings as we believe that integrity is the cornerstone of all positive and productive relationships. INNOVATION: We strive to be innovative by delivering services that are intuitive and responsive to the needs of our clients, partners and employees. EMPOWERMENT: We believe in an empowerment approach that encourages individual abilities. We support this by ensuring that everyone has adequate tools, skills, input, opportunities and knowledge to be successful. RESPECT: We are committed to an atmosphere of respect. We honor this by embracing the diversity of our staff, clients and partners; recognizing that our success as an agency is based on the talent, skills and expertise of our team.
To change the plight of the poor, more than bricks and mortar must be used. We cannot expect significant change to occur unless an alternative is presented. This is a core value that is rooted within LifeSTEPS, and is a central idea that led Craig Gillett and Kenneth Robertson to found LifeSTEPS in 1996. Gillett, a licensed therapist and attorney, and Robertson, a seasoned affordable housing and commercial real estate expert, determined that access to affordable housing was only part of the solution in helping people overcome poverty.
There needed to be a strong case management presence on-site. This led to the LifeSTEPS service delivery model. Contracting with developers of affordable housing communities, LifeSTEPS began delivery of services to just a few sites, growing slowly during the initial phases.
Who we serve
The residents we serve are diverse. They are young and old; live alone or with a family; come from a multiplicity of cultural backgrounds; are employed, retired or receive assistance. The one thing they have in common is that they are low or very low-income.
Low income people face a multitude of challenges. From work and job skill deficiencies, to health and wellness challenges, they often face one or more barriers to achieving self-sufficiency. They have little or no resources, no savings, and typically work at minimum wage jobs or receive some type of public assistance. The typical client LifeSTEPS serves is a single mother with three children.
Regardless of the make-up of the household, if they experience a decrease in on on-the-job hours, an unexpected car repair, or a medical emergency, they will be in danger of missing a rent payment…which, in turn, puts them in danger of being homeless.