Tahlequah Daily Press

December 4, 2013

Stepping Stones filled a gap


TAHLEQUAH — Editor, Daily Press:

I would like to address the issues Karen Cooper wrote about in her letter to the editor. Stepping Stone is a place for people who can not afford a deposit. How come when it was a nursing home, it was OK to have only two bathrooms in each hall, and now, it is wrong to still have those same bathrooms? No one made Dakota’s parents rent from here. There are two bathrooms on each hall and there are three rooms that have a bathroom in them.

It is up to everyone who rents from Stepping Stone to clean their rooms. Just because one room is nasty does not mean all the rooms are that way. I bet most of the people who are talking negatively about Stepping Stone have never needed assistance or had no place to procure other living arrangements due to lack of funds – i.e., move-in costs, which include housing deposit, first and last months’ rent, and utility deposits, which may run as high as $2,000. And that does not include cable, Internet or phone.

Most of the people who live here have no car or way to move their belongings. Stepping Stone provides the bed linens, the bed, a fridge, TVs with cable, and free Wi-Fi. There is a kitchen for cooking and laundry room to do laundry. The people who live here help each other.

How many landlords would cook and bring it to renters or take the renters to the store or doctor appointments, or go to McDonald’s and buy hamburgers and hand them out? How many would drive to Tulsa for donated clothes so people would have clothes to wear, and how many would help people get false teeth or their disability, or even drive people to the bus station, never asking for gas money?

The landlord of Stepping Stone, on the day Dakota was murdered, called CREOKS to ask if they could send counselors, and they said no. Then she asked if they could send one counselor to talk to the baby sitter who found him, and they said no, that she could walk up there. I’ve been here for six years, and every Thanksgiving and Christmas, the community would donate food, but because of bad publicity this year, there were no donations except one turkey and some rolls from King’s Aid Station, and potatoes donated by the landlord’s son-in-law.

I would like to ask if the mayor has learned an important lesson about code enforcement. Why hasn’t the men’s shelter been inspected or any of the motels and other landlords? When is the mayor gonna help place the people? Why hasn’t anybody tried to meet some of the people who once called this place home? We don’t have the plague.

Heaven Braddy