For Immediate Release 

February 16, 2016

CONTACT: Jim Phelps    916-965-0110 x212
LifeSTEPS Begins 20th Anniversary Year 
by Assisting More Residents Than Ever Before 
LifeSTEPS has reached the $2,000,000 mark in providing direct 
special assistance to the residents they serve.
Fair Oaks, CA 2016 marks LifeSTEPS' 20th anniversary in providing vital social services to the residents of affordable housing in California. Incorporated in 1996, the pioneering social services model was the creation of co-founders Craig Gillett and Kenneth Robertson, when they determined that a different approach needed to be taken in helping to lift people out of poverty. The zenith of their vision reached an incredible milestone at the end of 2015.
During late December, LifeSTEPS reached the $2 million mark in providing direct special assistance to the residents they serve. "We're incredibly proud of this accomplishment," says Beth Southorn, Executive Director for LifeSTEPS. "Our Client Assistance program has been a program that truly leads to transformation." Our strategic team work in creating the Partnership for HOPE with AMCAL and the JB Brown Fund with USA Properties Fund has been a huge part of our success in achieving this goal. These funds support college scholarships, youth development and economic stabilization.  
The Client Assistance Program has been life-changing.
LifeSTEPS' Client Assistance Program was established in 2009 as a means of providing emergency assistance to residents during times of crisis. This direct financial assistance has enabled residents to remain in their homes (avoiding eviction) while they also received invaluable financial management education.
The program has since grown to include a diverse range of assistance areas, including college scholarships, medical assistance, food security, transportation, GED completion, and even providing help to children who want to participate in character building extracurricular activities. The Client Assistance program is separate from the social services LifeSTEPS is contracted to provide, and is funded through grants, individual and business donations, and other fundraising programs. All funds raised are allocated to direct client services - not a cent is re-directed to cover administrative expenses.
"When a crisis happens, very few people who live in affordable communities have a safety net," Southorn says. "By providing short-term, one-time assistance, the people we serve have a chance to remain in their home, get through the crisis, and gain the knowledge and skills necessary to not only overcome future challenges, but to elevate their quality of life. In fact, 87 percent of the people we assist remain in their homes for 12 months or longer - and many have even gone on to buy homes."
LifeSTEPS 20th Anniversary: Celebrating by Doing What They Do Best

Helping Families
Perhaps it is not coincidental that the organization reached the $2 million assistance milestone on the eve of its 20th anniversary. Rather than throwing a big party, the organization has chosen to celebrate by doing what it does best: serve the needs of residents.
To get the year started, the LifeSTEPS Client Assistance fund has been re-named Craig's Fund, in honor of LifeSTEPS co-founder Craig Gillett.
"Craig's selfless vision has led to untold numbers of people whose lives have been changed. We thought it only fitting that we honor him by naming the fund after him." Southorn said.
This fitting tribute under-scores the organization's long-term commitment to making a true difference in alleviating poverty. Another way in which the organization changes lives is its commitment to helping older adults age-in-place, and helping school children maintain appropriate reading proficiency at their grade level.
While very different in nature, these two areas of emphasis highlight the broad range of services LifeSTEPS provides to diverse resident populations, and also gives focus to issues that are critical to the entire community.
Serving Seniors
As a means of celebrating its 20th anniversary, LifeSTEPS will facilitate health fairs for older adults, and literacy events at select communities during the month of June. While the organization provides these types of events throughout the year, the June events will be enhanced in order to provide emphasis on these two important challenges.
"What defines LifeSTEPS is our absolute commitment to our mission," Southorn says. "I cannot think of a better way to celebrate our anniversary than by living out our values and our commitment to helping people overcome poverty."
For more information on LifeSTEPS, please go to
Note: Event details will be made available closer to the date of each event.
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