LifeSTEPS Executive Director
Beth Southorn’s commitment to families runs deep.
“When I was a young social worker, working at a Bay Area homeless shelter, I was deeply affected by the numbers of children that were homeless,” she says.
They were there with their parents who, for one reason or another had lost jobs, businesses, houses. She knew then that something had to give, something needed to be done differently.
When she took over the Executive Director’s role with LifeSTEPS, she knew that this was her chance to enact something effectively different.
“At LifeSTEPS we don’t enable people, we empower them. That’s the only way to give families the tools they need to break free from poverty.”
Through Beth’s leadership, LifeSTEPS social work staff focus on the “whole person, whole family”, developing long-term trusting relationships in which families are connected to local resources, while also having access to education resources provided by LifeSTEPS. These educational resources includes employability, health and wellness, and social activities that connect entire communities. LifeSTEPS also provides on-site after school programs that provides a safe and nurturing environment for learning.
“When families engage and become enrolled with us, we’ve witnessed amazing transformations. Frankly, nothing pleases us more than when a family actually moves out of affordable housing because they’ve bought a home.”
During 2013 one developer partner noted that 11% of the families that moved out of their communities did so because they purchased a home.
“When a family buys a home that means there is now a space for a new family to receive the help they need. It means LifeSTEPS has another opportunity to help a family undertake transformation. It means children have a safe place to live.”