The Next Step Homeless Services opened in May 2002 at 123 N. 6th St., Suite 200. The agency’s founder, a man named Gary Hays, saw that homeless individuals in the city needed help and had nowhere to go during the day time.
He shared this knowledge with St. John’s Episcopal Church. The Church offered the use of the Secrest Building and Mr. Hays opened the Next Step Day Room. He helped thousands of individuals before retiring in January 2012.
The agency changed its name in March 2013 to The Next Step Homeless Services because the Board of Directors felt it was time to change as the agency had grown beyond just a Day Room and now is a leader in homeless services in the community providing supportive housing, a Day Room and a resource center for homeless individuals. The Next Step Homeless Services has three supportive homes: The Buddy Smith Home focusing on military veterans; the Esther Home for women and women with children; and the Gabriel House for men.
What hasn’t changed at The Next Step Homeless Services is its mission.
Today, case managers with backgrounds in social service work help our homeless clients seek solutions to homelessness through individual case management with direction toward self sufficiency.