FALL RIVER – Mechanics Cooperative Bank has donated $2,500 to Steppingstone and the First Step Inn for its work supporting the homeless.
According to HUD’s point-in-time count in January, there were 384 homeless persons in Fall River, with 78 of those unsheltered. First Step Inn served 276 homeless last year, placing 107 into permanent housing. Another 42 people were placed in substance abuse, psychiatric or medical treatment facilities, said Kathleen Schedler-Clark, executive director of Steppingstone.
Steppingstone’s First Step Inn has operated as the primary transitional shelter for the homeless here since 2003. Since the 2008 financial crisis, however, its services have been more in demand than ever. Local churches have set up a makeshift shelter system to help those in need, but this assistance doesn’t bridge the gap of permanent housing to address homelessness, Schedler-Clark said.
The project to consolidate Fall River’s homeless shelter system into the First Step Inn will enable more of the city’s homeless population to have access to on-site supportive services which will help them secure permanent housing, she added.
“We need partners like Mechanics Cooperative Bank, who understands the needs of our local community,” said Schedler-Clark. “We cannot thank Mechanics Cooperative Bank, and President and CEO Joseph T. Baptista Jr. enough for their commitment to Steppingstone and the city of Fall River.”