Originally founded by four sisters from the Congregation of St. Joseph, Transitional Housing Inc. (THI) opened its doors to residents on January 17, 1986.

Its mission—to solve for a shortage of safe, decent and affordable housing for low-income and homeless women who faced multiple barriers in obtaining temporary residence. THI offered these women a chance to get back on their feet and interrupted the cyclical trickling in and out of emergency shelters.

Based on Cleveland’s near West Side, the THI facility came from unique origins. Formerly a motel, THI renovated the building into a 60-unit residence and become one of the first transitional housing programs in the U.S. for women living alone.

From inception to 2010, THI served more than 3,000 homeless women and children, with a 98% success rate of clients moving into permanent housing. 

In 2010, THI began retooling its delivery model to permanent supportive housing. This restructuring was a direct result of the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act (HEARTH Act), as well as the changing landscape of local continuum of care, which focuses on providing a permanent solution to end the cycle of homelessness. 

By the end of 2011, THI had fully embraced the national best practice model of Housing First, converting 10 of its 60 transitional housing units into permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless disabled women. THI also established a collaborative relationship with Emerald Development Economic Network (EDEN) to provide rental subsidies for these units. 

To further respond to changes in the homeless community, as well as shifts in government funding for organizations serving that population, THI began a strategic planning process in 2013. 

While remaining true to its mission to serve the homeless in need, THI converted its 50 remaining transitional housing units to permanent supportive housing. All 60 units are now permanent supportive housing and serve individuals and families, who are mentally disabled and/or economically disadvantaged in Cuyahoga County. 

To take one step further in responding to the needs of the community, THI opened its doors for the first time to a single male father in 2013, and now continues to serve men, women and children.

In 2014, the organization was renamed Front Steps Housing and Services to align with the full scope of offerings provided to residents and those in our local community. 

“Front Steps” serves as a symbolic reference to home and represents the starting place for new beginnings. With a new name and strategic plan in place, the organization is poised better than ever to improve and expand its services for a broader population of individuals and families.