On Saturday, April 30th, Stepping Stone Housing Board Members, supporters, neighbors, and friends gathered at the Blue Haven development in Damariscotta to honor and dedicate a special area of the property to Bill and Barb Howlett, beloved founders of the organization. The dedicated area just off Hodgdon Street features two benches, a plaque and three newly planted apple trees.
Bill and Barb Howlett founded Stepping Stone Housing Inc (SSHI) as a non-profit in 2013 and purchased Blue Haven from the estate of John Andrews who wished to keep the property as low income housing to help those in Lincoln County who live at or below the poverty level. With Bill and Barb’s vision and dedication, Stepping Stone Housing, over the last nine years, has expanded to include six different low income properties, currently serving 23 individuals in midcoast Maine.
Barb Howlett sadly passed away last year, but Bill and his children were present at the dedication. The festivities began with Board Treasurer Bruce Bachelder acting as Master of Ceremonies, explaining bit about the location and the significance of the apple trees. Carolyn Neighoff, pastor of Water of Life Church and an original Board Member of SSHI, gave an invocation, followed by a Dedication from Marilee Harris, President of Stepping Stone Housing and pastor at the Damariscotta Baptist Church. Marilee said in her dedication, “You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them. This sums up the extraordinary character of Bill and Barb quite nicely.”
Bill cut the ceremonial red ribbon declaring the space officially open, thanking everyone who participated in making Stepping Stone Housing a reality. “This is a wonderful thing. I am convinced that before we are done, there is going to be lovely grove of trees here, a small orchard, that we will be proud of…and that will bear fruit for our community.”
Stepping Stone Housing Inc. is a 501c (3) non-profit corporation that has been providing
affordable, transitional, and permanent housing for individuals and families in Lincoln County since 2013. It is a local, volunteer run, grassroots program dedicated to helping those who earn less than a living wage find housing as a "stepping stone" to a better life. The organization holds monthly in person Yard Sales at their Biscay Road property to raise money and often donates goods to other individuals and organizations in need. You can also find SSHI items on the Facebook Yard Sale marketplace. For more information, visit www.steppingstonehousing.org .