Native American Connections hosts celebration for new facility for the homeless

PHOENIX - A celebration is under way for a new resource to tackle a very difficult problem in the community.

Native American Connections is hosting a Grand Opening Community Celebration to highlight its newly constructed facility that can house 82 people.

The center called “Stepping Stone” is a safe haven for chronically homeless people, providing them a permanent avenue to get off the streets.

“These people are often mentally ill or suffering severe depression,” said Ronnie McGuire, a case worker for Native American Connections. “Many simply can’t find a way to help themselves.”

One resident, “Abel,” has been living at Stepping Stones since November. Once working and self-supporting, he fell into homelessness after severe depression and anxiety after his mother passed away.

He was homeless for three years, often relying on family and friends for help periodically.

“This has been a new start for me,” he said. “Now I have a reason to get up in the morning.”

Two smaller Stepping Stone facilities have been at the location near 14th Street and McDowell for years. This new construction doubles their capacity.

The housing and services are available to anyone, but Native American Connections does provide some unique services for the Native American population that often are enduring unique problems.

“They are isolated and away from their families,” said McGuire. “We’re able to provide and assist with some of the ceremonial rituals that they are accustomed to on the reservation that helps them heal.”

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