September Jefferson Award: Stephen Saliba

Stephen Saliba Jefferson Award Winner
Stephen Saliba Jefferson Award Winner(FOX 47)
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 10:21 AM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) – People reaching out for services that help those experiencing homelessness have seen an uptick lately.

This makes the services that Family Promise Rochester provide even more critical.

At 913 1st St. NW sits what looks like a normal house but inside is so much more.

“I think it’s one of the best kept secrets in Rochester,” said Board President and Treasurer Erich Heneke.

Four families experiencing homelessness can live in the house for up to 90 days as the program helps families towards their next steps of either finding a job, more stable housing, etc. The mother has to be in the third trimester of her pregnancy or the family has to have a child to qualify.

The organization began more than 21 years ago by housing those experiencing homelessness in different churches throughout the city before getting a property of its own. Now, Family Promise Rochester has a second house on 1st St. NW.

The biggest need right now is more volunteers, especially those who are bi-lingual to help with families who don’t speak English.

Which makes people who have volunteered for more than a decade like Stephen Saliba all the more important.

“He’s comfortable helping with events and interacting with our guests and our families so that’s great,” said Interim Executive Director Erin Sinnwell.

Stephen got his start after a friend introduced him to the organization and he loved the mission.

“I started by spending overnights at churches and getting families anything they needed during the evening. That’s how it started and then I just got more involved because it is a great program and the staff here is wonderful,” said Saliba.

Stephen is known for his singing at events or dad jokes while interacting with the kids at events, including his favorite of the Pancake Breakfast.

“I’m just a big believer in having joy when you’re working and spreading that joy to other people,” said Saliba.

To learn more about Family Promise Rochester, click here.

If you know someone “multiplying good” and think they’re worthy of a Jefferson Award, you can nominate them here.