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10/4/2010 6:00:00 AM
Lights are on and some find a home
Mission gives homeless a real chance at success
Patrice Osborn (right) and Kitchen Supervisor Melanie Heap prepare food at the Cornerstone Mission kitchen Friday.JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Patrice Osborn (right) and Kitchen Supervisor Melanie Heap prepare food at the Cornerstone Mission kitchen Friday.


Top: A resident of Cornerstone Mission is pictured sleeping in his bunk bed Friday. Bottom: Scott Runyan, pictured Friday showing clothes available to those in need, is a case manager at Cornerstone Mission.JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Top: A resident of Cornerstone Mission is pictured sleeping in his bunk bed Friday.

Bottom: Scott Runyan, pictured Friday showing clothes available to those in need, is a case manager at Cornerstone Mission.


Erin Taylor
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - When Case Manager Scott Runyan counsels homeless men who walk through the doors of Cornerstone Mission, the 48-year-old recovering alcoholic can speak from experience. He knows what they are going through because he went through the same thing.

"This place basically saved my life," he said. "I've gotten more done in four years than I did in 25 years on the street."

Officials with Cornerstone Mission, a faith-based shelter and soup kitchen, are hoping to put the problem of homelessness back into the public spotlight with a number of upcoming events for Homeless Awareness Week, which runs Oct. 9-16.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates around 672,000 homeless people in the country, with some 14,500 in Arizona.

A street-count conducted by Mohave County groups at the beginning of 2009 found 337 homeless men in Kingman, 106 homeless women and 46 families with children. During the 2008-2009 school year, the Kingman Unified School District identified 505 homeless students in grades preschool through 12.

Runyan was one of those statistics when he came to the area from Las Vegas at the end of 2006. He had been arrested for driving under the influence and terms of his probation required that he stay in the county.

He entered the mission's 90-day program for men, which provides clients with food and shelter, as well as a number of drug and alcohol counseling classes.

"I'd look for work from 9 to 3," Runyan said. "The security of knowing that I could come back to a safe place to sleep at night, have clean clothes, take a shower and get fed was the difference in me getting a job."

Runyan was hired as a cook at Burger King and continued "working the program," as he says, which ultimately led to him running the mission's kitchen for six months before being hired as a case manager in January 2008.

In May, he will receive his associate's degree in Social Science and Behavior. He's been sober in the four years since coming to the mission.

"This is a self-governing program," he said. "The guys are in charge of themselves and their success."

And it seems to work. Runyan said he has a long list of past clients considered success stories, those who have gone on to overcome addiction and homelessness to lead productive lives with gainful employment.

Currently, 18 men stay at the shelter, which has space for 30. While women and children are eligible for certain services, such as food and clothing, the shelter is for men only. Funding is being secured for a women and children's shelter that is planned for some time in the future.

For now they are given vouchers to stay at local hotels for a night or two until other housing is secured.

The mission also helps clients gain an education. In September, the mission held a fundraiser that raised $1,200 to go toward those in the community who can't afford the $70 cost of a GED test. The scholarships are open to anyone in the community and are available through the Mohave Community College's pre-college studies department, where Runyan used to work helping people get into college.

Robert Vogt, who joined the mission's board of directors recently, said the depressed economy has made fundraising difficult at a time when more people than ever need their services.

The mission operates its entire $100,000 annual budget without federal funding.

Its budget is comprised of donations from corporate sponsors, including Taco Bell and Kingman Regional Medical Center, along with grants and private donations.

Homeless Awareness Week will kick-off with the "Bowling for a Mission" tournament from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, and conclude with an "Awareness Walk," starting from the mission at 9 a.m. the following Saturday (Oct. 16).

Local businesses and organizations are also participating in raising awareness and funds for the homeless. IHOP on Stockton Hill Road will donate 20 percent of sales between 4 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, to the mission.

Grace Lutheran Church will also match donations to the mission made before Nov. 1. The donations should be marked and can either be mailed to the church at 2101 Harrison Street, Kingman, AZ, 86401, or can be dropped of at the office at the same location.

Local outlets also have donation jars set up. Locations include: Calico's, Cerbat Lanes, Donut Depot, Kingman Co. Steakhouse, House of Brews, The Cellar Door, Sirens' Café, Patrick's Café, Porky's, and both of the Taco Bell locations.

A number of future fundraisers, such as a variety show and a senior prom, are being planned for the spring.

To sign up for the bowling tournament, call Yvonne at (928) 692-1818.

For more information on Cornerstone Mission, call (928) 757-1535.

ICT - Kingman Honda
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• Letter: Meet some homeless at Cornerstone
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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, October 7, 2010
Article comment by: Melissa Cornelia

There are no qualifiers for food assistance at the mission Except that you not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and you are at or below the federal guidelines of poverty, for the record...
CMP Admin.

Posted: Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Article comment by: c e

yeah what a service the one time i needed food and went there they said we didn't qualify for what ever reason and we are way below poverty so i wont ever support there cause they only help the people they like

Posted: Monday, October 4, 2010
Article comment by: Allan Gleason

I think Cornerstone is a very good cause - and one of the few in Kingman. Although I'm on a limited income and certainly not religious, I've donated to them before and will again because it is the humanitarian thing to do.

Posted: Monday, October 4, 2010
Article comment by: I Love These Kinds of Stories

Congratulations to Mr. Runyan. His story is inspiring and shows a person can beat the odds with determination and sound decisions.

Posted: Monday, October 4, 2010
Article comment by: nnp nnp

I think it was President Kennedy who said something about "how a nation treats its poor and incarcerated shows what sort of country you live in". Considering the devastating effects of justice system contacts and the direction America's job market is going, there's a real need for assistance/diversionary programs like Cornerstone Mission.

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