Cambridge-Isanti alum Pamela Streed moved back to the Cambridge area in 2013 after a long career in the regulatory affairs industry that took her to many different places, including California, Illinois and Wiesbaden, Germany. After she settled in, she enjoyed catching up with family and friends and then began to engage in some volunteer work. She always had a passion for helping others, and as someone who grew up in Cambridge, she has always had a heart for greater Minnesota.
She had heard about the good work going on at New Pathways – helping homeless families get back on their feet (see sidebar at the end of this article).
So she volunteered with fundraising tasks. Soon, she was invited to join the board. Little did she know her decision to become further engaged would lead to a career/job change, following the tugs on her heart.
Streed took on the directorship of the New Pathways staff of nine in April of 2017. She came with a strong background in leadership and business development from the for-profit world. This business background, along with her history as a nonprofit volunteer, appears to be a winning combination for the future progress of New Pathways. She “inherited” a nonprofit with a long history of creative service and development in East Central Minnesota.
Churches are essential resource
New Pathways was founded by Cheryl Grey and Margaret Burns in 1999. With much hard work, overcoming challenges along the way, the project went from one emergency assistance site in Cambridge to a second in Brainerd.
This could only have happened with the assistance of the 50 churches in these areas that give sleeping accommodations and meals to the participants in the Path to Home program.
“I am amazed at how New Pathways is effectively helping families move from homeless into homes,” said Pastor Mark Radeke, New Pathways board president. “They are the only organization serving families that works together with the churches in our communities. Our church (River of Life) serves hosting and supports New Pathways through Box City and a monthly gift. We all cheer when a person comes up to us and says, ‘I am home now!’ When families have no place to go, I tell them of New Pathways and know they will be given hope.”
In recent years, thanks to grant monies, the organization has been able to offer coaching and education for more complex life challenges, along with networking to other resources in the area.
Streed would like to continue expanding all their services and customize them to better meet the needs of those in their programs.
“One of the reasons I made the move to this sector was that I wanted to be more directly involved in helping families and children impacted by poverty,” Streed said. “And especially those in greater Minnesota, as I believe they face some unique challenges.”
Funding has been cut
But many of her new ideas have had to be put on hold for now. New Pathways was told last fall that 50 percent of its funding, which comes through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be redirected to other projects after July 2018, leaving them with a possible $200,000 deficit to make up. So the staff and board are now having to focus more of their time on fundraising than they have in the past.
“Ironically, what started out for me as a goal to focus more on helping people and less on money has really turned out quite differently due to our financial situation,” Streed said.
But she has committed to doing everything possible to ensure that their mission to help homeless families returns to stability and even thrives.
“I have days where the financial challenge before us just feels so big,” Streed said. “But then we have a family come in with their young children and talk about how they have been living in their car or how a family member just kicked them out and they have nowhere to go. We absolutely have to have a place where these families can get help.”
Opportunities to help
The need to fill the funding gap is even more crucial as 161 families were turned away in the last fiscal year due to lack of capacity. With access to more personnel and services, those families could have been helped.
One funding project began last fall is called Path to Home 350, focused on enlisting 350 organizations or individuals to give $50 per month – specifically 35 donors from each of the 10 counties the organization serves. So far the project has raised $40,000 and may now get a matching fund donation.
New Pathways is also planning a new event called “TroutLily Fest” from 5-10 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, at Creekside Farm, 8555 Rushseba Trail, Rush City. The event will feature a unique barn venue with pulled pork buffet dinner, silent and live auctions, raffles, games and door prizes and entertainment by three of the Mystery Mountain Boys bluegrass/country group. Tickets can be purchased by calling 763-691-0121 ext. 3 or visit newpathwaysmn.com/trout-lily-fest.
New Pathways has a strong faith base to it, and there are people praying for “new doors” to open and forward progress to continue. With new ideas being considered, the continued support of local churches, the board, staff and community – plus a new director – New Pathways is on the way to forward progress.
This is the first in a series of articles highlighting area nonprofit organizations. If you know of a nonprofit that you think should be highlighted, contact the Star at email@example.com.
What is Path to Home?
New Pathways’ Path to Home program serves homeless adults with children by giving them a safe place to stay, meals and access to case management services and skills training services.
During the day, families go to work, school or to a family Day Center where they work on their plan to get back into a home of their own.
Basic needs such as shower and laundry facilities are provided at the Day Center.
A Case Manager is provided each family to help with: finding housing, obtaining a vehicle, employment, healthcare, mental health, parenting, daycare, budgeting and more.
Area churches and their volunteers provide private sleeping accommodations, meals and hospitality in the evenings.
New Pathways served 196 people from 10 counties in 2017, with an average length of stay of 67 days. About 75 percent do find permanent housing.
310 Ashland St. S, Cambridge
Office: (763) 691-0121
Toll Free: (866) 274-2610