The Connection Homeless Shelter has a 23 year History!

In 1986, a small but mighty group, compelled by the scriptures, identified an unmet need in Lincoln County: providing for the basic needs of the poor, transient and homeless. Here are the names of The Connection founding mothers and fathers: Bernard Berger – St. Pats, Captain Brenda Herivel – Salvation Army, Julie Myers – Attorney, DiAnn Kolkman/Steve Lamon – First National Bank, A.J. Gardner – Special Agent UPRR, Howard Grant – First Christian Church, Steve Hodges – HR Director@ GPRMC, Glen Mahaffey – Episcopal Church and Community Volunteers: Karen McConnell, Jo Hetzke, Wanda Mindt, Ann Williams and Melanie Waugh. The Salvation Army basement at 6th and Walnut was the first site to go for 2 hots and a cot, sending them on their way the next day with referrals to helping agencies in town. Equipped with Articles of Incorporation, 501(C)(3) status, the former Tuckers restaurant at 511 N. Jeffers donated in August of 1994, a permanent homeless shelter was established.

It was obvious this 100 year old former restaurant was not going to stand the test of time so a capital campaign to raise $75,000.00 to buy the land at 414 East 6th street was accomplished in record time. We broke ground in 2009 and moved in to our present location July of 2010. This 1.4 million dollar project was finished debt free because: Donations from citizens like YOU, Federal Home Loan Bank Grant worth $250,000.00, Peter Kiewit Grant for $200,000.00, Community Redevelopment Grant of $200,000.00 and a special thanks to Habitat for Humanity for designating this a project worthy of their volunteer labor. This 16, 000 square foot building has 5 apartments for families, a dorm for 26 men, room for 7 in the womens dorm, a third floor play area, classroom with computers, dining room open to the public, laundry facility, offices and a $75,000.00 playground donated by The Buffalo Bill Kiwanis.

Over the years, The Connection has evolved to be a well established, highly respected program in Nebraska.  The case management component allows us to develop a relationship with the clients, make referrals to other helping agencies to get them stable and out of survual mode, devise an individual case plan which is a road map to self sufficiency with action steps and time frames.  We concentrate on employment, education and housing.  A client is allowed to stay as long as they are doing the work required to turn their life around and we can determine they are indeed moving forward.  We offer on site weekly A.A. Meetings, Bible study, Legal Aid Attorney, Life Skills case manager, Self sufficiency case manager and guest speakers on a variety of topics from many agencies.

Since 1994 we have operated a Thrift Connection now located at 501 E. 5th St. where you can donate and/or buy gently used clothing, furniture, knick knacks, seasonal items, housewares and electronics. In March 2016 we opened our new Construction Connection, 422 E. 6th, where you can donate and/or buy doors, windows, lumber, cabinets etc. BOTH STORES ARE RUN BY VOLUNTEERS AND WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US AS  THESE GROWING ENTERPISES CONTRIBUTE TO OUR COMMUNITY AND OPERATING BUDGET!

Our plans for the future are to develop a cottage industry as a way to have a steady source of income for our budget, seek Grant monies to buy the 6 efficiency apartments across the alley owned by George Evans and to purchase a Box truck with a lift for better pick up and deliveries for the Thrift Stores.  We will strive in our programming to serve our clients with compassion and accountability.