Project Description


Homelessness can happen to anyone. It can be caused by losing a job, domestic problems or mental health issues. A vulnerable person can be pushed into a housing crisis overnight.

That is why Nelson CARES Society operates Stepping Stones, a 24/7 emergency shelter when there is  nowhere else to turn.

We provide hot meals, a warm, dry bed and safety to hundreds of Kootenay residents every year.

Most people just need a chance to regroup, to gather their resources, and get a hand up for a few weeks to return to independent living. Others return more often seeking shelter. In both cases, we help people find resources for financial, medical and housing needs, providing the essentials so they can rebuild their lives.

Stepping Stones is part of our commitment to end homelessness and secure affordable housing in Nelson. Nelson CARES Society is in partnership with BC Housing.

Stepping Stones is the only emergency shelter in the West Kootenay’s, serving an area from Kaslo to Creston, Nelson to Trail.  It is located at 816 Vernon Street in Nelson.

Housing up to 17 people, in five bunk-style bedrooms, with a stay of up to 30 days. It is a low barrier, drug-and-alcohol free, safe environment.

There is staff on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support people to access social services, find stable housing and employment.


Stepping Stones receives community support through out the year.  Local businesses and community groups  work with us to address homeless issues by making generous donations of goods and services

The shelter accepts donations which include: tents, sleeping bags, blankets, sleeping mats, coats, boots…winter clothes. In particular, bedding, towels, and toilet paper are always needed. The shelter does not accept anything for children.


Contact Stepping Stones at 250.352.9876 if you can help.

“It doesn’t take that much to become homeless. We have this idea that you have to have no job skills or be a drug abuser. But we serve people who were fully employed, had functional lives just weeks earlier… then suddenly things changed. There are a lot of people in the Kootenays living on that edge.”

-Marjie Hills, Manager, Stepping Stones