two pairs of hands rested over grass carefully holding a carnation flowerHistory

Second Step Housing began in 1995 because a group of concerned community members saw a need for safe, affordable housing for homeless women and children; short-term shelters did not give women enough time to adequately address problems and overcome barriers. A longer, more stable living situation was needed. With help from the County, a two-year transitional housing program under the name of YW Housing was started with one house serving three women.

Today, Second Step Housing serves more than 450 individuals and families annually and has developed and manages 12 transitional housing properties and 42 units of affordable housing. We provide safe, affordable housing, case management and educational opportunities to adults, children and families who are working towards self-sufficiency. The agency partners with other nonprofits, local businesses, community members, and clients to help meet the housing needs of the community.

Mission

Second Step Housing’s mission is to empower homeless individuals and families with opportunities that foster self-sufficiency through affordable housing partnered with community services.

Core Values

  • We believe our families are more likely to successfully meet their goals if our services are intentionally linked to safe and affordable housing.
  • We value the ability, through education and experience and empowerment of our individuals and families, to make positive changes in their lives.
  • We believe in broad based partnerships that support shared community resources and increased opportunities for our families.
  • We believe in program improvements, results-oriented decision making, and creativity in all things we do.
  • We believe that professional excellence in governance, organizational management and program development is fundamental to the organization’s success, including planning and ongoing evaluation.

Code of Ethics

The work of Second Step Housing, as carried out by staff and volunteers, is vital to the education, empowerment and safety of our entire community. Recognizing the stressful nature of our work, we are committed to a healthy, caring environment throughout the agency. Each employee and volunteer will treat others in an open, helpful and respectful manner. We dedicate ourselves to actions, which recognize the human dignity of all people. We spark growth in others, our community, and ourselves. We welcome change when it means greater opportunities and real equality for all people.

Guiding Principals

  • We believe hope and personal connections are crucial to our work with the communities we serve.
  • We see collaboration and creating an inclusive environment as the only way in which to work together to serve our community.
  • We accept and celebrate all human diversity including: race, ethnicity. religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, color, national origin, marital status, and differences in ability.
  • We believe in having high expectations and an asset-based orientation for the communities we serve.
  • We maintain professional boundaries at all times and respect the confidentiality of our clients, staff, volunteers and Board Members.
  • We believe upsteam involvement is critical in effecting systemic change.

Highlights & Accomplishments

  • 1995: Opened first transitional house for homeless women, serving 3 women and their children.
  • 1999: Acquired 4 houses for transitional housing, capacity to serve 12 women and their children.
  • 2000: Acquired 1 house for transitional housing, capacity to serve 3 women and their children.
  • 2002: Acquired 3 houses for transitional housing, capacity to serve 9 women and their children.
  • 2002: Acquired one condo for affordable permanent housing for one low-income family.
  • 2003: Initiated a rental assistance program for 12 units in the private market.
  • 2005: Developed Kauffman Town Homes – 10-unit affordable housing facility for low-income individuals and families.
  • 2007: Developed Aurora Place Apartments – 25-unit affordable housing complex for low-income individuals and families.
  • 2008: Introduced the Re-Entry Housing Program, providing transitional housing and services for formerly incarcerated women who are at high risk of being homeless.
  • 2009: Introduced the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, a move-to-work program in partnership with the Vancouver Housing Authority
  • 2009: Agency re-branding and name change (Y Housing to Second Step Housing)
  • 2011: Acquired a duplex serving two low-income families.
  • 2014: Developed a partnership with the Clark County Sheriff’s department to provide supportive services and educational opportunities at the Jail Work center.
  • 2016: Acquired Horizon Place: a triplex rehabbed and used to house Youth aging out of Foster care.
  • 2016: Second Step Housing is working on a new 30 unit affordable housing project, due to break ground late 2016, rendering shown below.

an artist rendering of affordable housing in Vancouver WA