Norhart, a rental property management company based in Forest Lake, decided to give its tenants an opportunity to give back this holiday season by donating to the only single adult homeless shelter in the suburban metro.

Norhart manages Pineridge Apartments, Gateway Green Townhomes, Greystone Apartments, Cedarwood Apartments, Birchview Apartments, Mill Pond Apartments, Maple Court Apartments, and other rentals in and around Forest Lake.

The company started with Ed Kaeding and a single apartment in Devils Lake, North Dakota, in the 1970s. By 1990, Kaeding had 20 rental units to his name and packed up the operation for a move to Forest Lake. In 2009, Ed’s son Mike took a vested interest in the company and would eventually become president, continuing the legacy that his father had worked so hard to achieve.

This holiday season, Norhart teamed with Stepping Stone Emergency Housing in Anoka to provide financial assistance to the shelter.

“We are passionate about creating a better way for people to live,” Kaeding said. “For a long time we have been working internally to make that happen, and now we decided to expand our reach externally as well.”

Tenants were able to fill out a form on the Norhart website with a donation amount and then include that amount with their rent check. The company matched every tenant donation dollar for dollar.

Stepping Stone Emergency Housing is the only homeless shelter in Anoka County that accepts single homeless adults. It began serving homeless adults in 1994 under the management of Shiloh Ministries and in 2008 received nonprofit status with a board of directors appointed. In September 2012, Stepping Stone moved from a 16 to a 66 bed facility. That facility is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to providing basic needs, Stepping Stone also provides one-of-a-kind programming, services, and amenities to all residents with an end goal of erasing homelessness one person at a time.

“One thing that touched me was seeing a tattered stuffed animal of a cat neatly propped up on the pillow of a resident’s bed,” Kaeding said. “You could tell that the resident prized the old stuffed animal, and although I had never met this person, I felt a connection to the suffering that homelessness has caused. The need is far greater than an organization like Stepping Stone can provide, and that is why we decided to reach out with help.”

Norhart thanked its tenants for the donations and also wished them all a happy holidays, providing each apartment with a $20 gift card to either Route 47 Pub and Grub in Blaine or The Old Log Cabin Restaurant in Forest Lake. The company is also offering an incentive to the community at large.

“We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who has supported our company whether you are a resident or not,” Kaeding said. “So, if you sign up for our newsletter (here or here) and like our Facebook page, we will enter you into a drawing for $100 gift card. We are doing one drawing for each restaurant, and you can sign up for both. Also, if you share the links with a friend and they win, then you and your friend will both get a $100 gift card.”

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