Cornerstone House located in Montclair is the only shelter of its kind in the Northern Essex County area.   Since the start is has served as a dignified oasis of help individuals and families who are temporarily without housing accommodation.

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 seek a way to respond and formalized a group called 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 the most effective way to deal with our homeless citizens, 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 quickly outgrown.

After an extensive search 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 1986.

The Cornerstone House is the only homeless shelter of its kind in Suburban Essex County. The 23 bed facility serves families and individuals who are not eligible for shelter through the Division of Family and Benefits. 

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.  All residents work with The Salvation Army case manager and establish a case plan that will lead to stable housing.

Financial support for Cornerstone House operations 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.

Cornerstone is opened 6pm to 8am under the supervision of the house manager 365 days each year.  While most of our residents are employed or attending school during the day, an important issue came to our attention a few years ago and ultimately another volunteer opportunity.  During a follow up conversation after a family had moved into an apartment, the mom shared with us a conversation that she had with her ten year old son the first weekend they were settled.  “Mom, do you know what the best thing about our own place is? Sleeping in!”  With the help of volunteers, we now try to schedule a “sleep in Saturday” each month.  Volunteers provide a light breakfast, activities for the children, and extended hours on that day. 

We are always seeking out ways to enhance our services to meet our residents needs and provide a smooth transition to stable housing.  It is always heartwarming to know that we can make a difference.  A recent resident wrote to our case manager  “I would like to personally thank you and your staff for a wonderful time here at cornerstone.  Thank you for assisting me and making my transition wonderful.  I appreciate that”.

In order to help us continue to provide these services at 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.  Please consider sponsoring nights for an individual at $19.00/night, or a family of 4 for $76.00/night.  Your tax-deductible donation can be mailed to The Salvation Army 13 Trinity Place Montclair, NJ 07042.

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: