Cornerstone houses the homeless

News

A Topeka non-profit organization is helping people out of homelessness. Cornerstone of Topeka Incorporated Executive Director Chris Palmer refers to his organization as “second chance landlords.” He said they help people who have fallen on hard times get back on their feet. 

Single parent Roxanne Bandenburgh found Cornerstone when she and her three children were living in a single room in her mom’s house. 

“Years ago I was in an abusive relationship, and needed to have housing on my own and be on my own two feet with my kids,” she said. 

Cornerstone property manager Dora Coronel said they offer people transitional housing for about $300 a month and utilities are free.

“The main reason is to help those families get into affordable housing and be in a safe home,” Coronel said. 

Palmer said they serve the working poor. Everyone who lives in a Cornerstone home must have enough income to meet the rent requirement.

“There are a lot of homeless people in Topeka, Kansas who have jobs, who have other sources of income, but through decisions they’ve made or things that have happened in their lives, they’re homeless.”     

Bandenburgh has finished Cornerstone’s six month transitional housing program. Now she rents a Cornerstone affordable housing program home for $425 a month plus utilities. She said her kids are excited about the new house, Cornerstone has helped her save money and feel more secure. 

“I’m just not struggling anymore and that’s a wonderful feeling because I feel like I’ve been doing that my whole life,” she said.

Cornerstone takes referrals from organizations like the Topeka Rescue Mission, the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment and Valeo. 

Cornerstone gives $250 for a deposit on permanent housing to people who complete their six month transitional housing program.

It also gives renters $50 for every month they pay their rent on time. Cornerstone’s long-term affordable housing offers rental homes for less than market prices. 

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