The months of May and June 2012 are Cornerstone Foundations Months. In order to help us lay a strong financial foundation for our Cornerstone House Shelter we would ask that you support our work by considering a gift specified to keep homeless men, women and children in a safe welcoming environment. Cornerstone House is the only shelter of its kind in Montclair and in North Essex County. You can help us in two ways.
You can sponsor a night for a needy neighbor for by sending a check for $18.50 or $74 for a family of four. You might be able to help with more by sending your check to The Salvation Army 13 Trinity Place Montclair, NJ 07042.
Cornerstone House, northern Essex County's only homeless shelter, remains a dignified oasis of help for those who are temporarily without accomodation.
Volunteers and local service groups continue to help Cornerstone maintain a high standard of care for men, women and families who need its services.
From the beginning, Montclair and the surrounding communities have given tremendous support to Cornerstone House. In 2002 members of The Salvation Army Community Advisory Board formed the Friends of Cornerstone Committee. Its mission is to raise awareness of the services provided by The Salvation Army to the homeless population in the area and acquire resources to sustain Cornerstone House. In 2003, The Junior League of Montclair-Newark supported Cornerstone by volunteering to renovate much of the facility. After fifteen years of use, the donations of new furniture, painting, and man-hours transformed Cornerstone House into a warm and welcoming home for its residents. Late in 2007 the exterior of the house also received a new look shown in the picture above.
In 1983, the issue of homelessness, once thought to be an urban phenomenon, was in fact a reality in suburbia; even Montclair, long known as a symbol of elegance and affluence. The plight of one single homeless woman brought this issue to the attention of local churches and community organizations that realized her needs could not be met by any existing agency. This concerned group decided to continue to look for responses, calling themselves the Montclair Coalition for Emergency Assistance.
Using the resources of member agencies, they created and found funding for a pilot program to provide shelter, food, clothing and other emergency services for local residents. The Montclair Salvation Army was chosen to administer the program.
During the first year the Coalition provided assistance that included shelter for 104 individuals. It became apparent that motel housing was not an acceptable way to deal with our homeless, particularly those with children. A nine-bed shelter was opened up in rented space within a licensed rooming house, but as the problem of homelessness continued to grow, the space was outgrown.
At last, a vacant apartment building owned by the township was located, and renovations began to create a larger, better shelter. Cornerstone House was opened in March of 1989.
The Cornerstone House is the only homeless shelter of its kind in Suburban Essex County. The 23 bed facility houses families and individuals in a drug and alcohol free environment.
Residents share a communal kitchen, dining and recreational area. Family quarters offer private baths, while individuals are housed dormitory style with a maximum of four residents to a room.
In general, Cornerstone is opened 6pm to 8am under the supervision of the manager 365 days each year.
Financial support for Cornerstone House comes primarily from private donations and government grants. All monetary gifts are tax deductible.
Volunteer support is a valuable resource for the physical needs of the building and the personal needs of our residents. Opportunities include garden work, sorting linens, making personal care packages and assisting with resumé writing to assist residents in their employment search. These services are a vital component in Cornerstone operations.
Here are a few pictures of our shelter facility: