LEADERS WHO UNDERSTAND FIRSTHAND

“As a former drug dealer who served nearly ten years in federal prison, I accidentally discovered a passion for cooking while incarcerated. Upon release, I was fortunate enough to land as a dishwasher at Gadsbys in Beverly Hills, worked my way up to line cook, and eventually becoming the Executive Chef at Café Bellago. Along the way, I discovered another deep-rooted passion as well; in helping other incarcerated individuals uncover—that everyone has innate gifts, but so many have grown up in situations that limit their ability to discover it. Michele Steeb’s Answers Behind the Red Door addresses homelessness as an epidemic, and one that can actually be cured. It’s about helping to unleash people bound by poverty, addiction, violence, and a lack of education so that they, too, can become free to change. In that, we both believe everyone can change and should have the opportunity to live their dream.”

CHEF JEFF

Award-winning chef, New York bestselling author, public speaker and former Food Network star

 

 

“In pre-pandemic and now Covid America, lawmakers seemingly are incapable of addressing a homelessness crisis that embodied shattered lives, afflicted cities and decades of failed government intent. Answers Behind the Red Door provides precisely that – answers and a clear guideline for addressing this most chronic of America’s societal woes.”

BILL WHALEN

Research Fellow/Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow in Journalism Hoover Institution

 

 

“Michele Steeb and David Flanagan take on one of America’s least understood issues: homelessness. The dominant consensus from homeless advocates and bureaucrats who have overseen a large increase in homeless Americans over the past 10 years is that the homeless are homeless because they lack a home. This materialist approach—called “housing first”—completely ignores the underlying conditions that led most to homelessness: drug abuse, mental illness, and domestic violence. (Book name) sets the record straight and offers real solutions for policymakers and volunteers alike, while telling inspirational stories along the way.”

CHUCK DeVORE

California State Assemblyman, 2004 to 2010

 

 

“...Michele offers a wealth of information which serves to enlighten and inspire a greater understanding of how lives are saved and forever changed. She brings valuable hands-on experience and a strong sense of responsibility to her work and is truly passionate about helping others successfully overcome the challenges which so often contribute to homelessness. Her expertise and experience, along with her unique perspective and involvement in public policy related to homelessness, shed light and offer sage guidance for decision makers and communities working to address the very serious and challenging issues of homelessness and poverty throughout our nation. Her message is one of hope for a better and brighter future for those in need of help.”

DON NOTTOLI

County Supervisor Sacramento, CA

 

 

“I have known Michele for over a decade. She is widely seen as an expert on helping women overcome the many challenges that can accompany homelessness: mental health, poverty, abuse, addiction and most detrimentally, hopelessness. Michele created a program that challenges old ways of thinking. It instead empowers women. It focuses on hope, love and a life worth fighting for. Long before graduating law school, owning my own business and becoming a Councilmember in the City of Sacramento, I too was a poor single Mom, reliant on food stamps, low-income housing, and subsidized childcare. In those years there was no safety net, a strong breeze could have knocked me, and my son, into the position Michele finds so many of her program participants. Her commitment to real change and to lifting women up can only be described as divine. She works with a sense of purpose beyond this world. Her outcomes are undeniable, and her dogged tenacity is the seed that has given root to the strongest of oaks. We are all better off for the life work of Michele Brown Steeb. Here’s to replication, saving lives and creating pathways for those who need them the most.”

ANGELIQUE ASHBY, JD

Mayor Pro Tem,

City of Sacramento, California

 

 

 

“In her nearly 13 years as CEO of Saint John’s, Michele developed an understanding that (for the homeless) providing a bed was not nearly enough. She made the comparison between her homeless residents and women involved in the criminal justice system, seeing that both populations merged from the same causes: childhood trauma, lack of education, lack of employment, physical and mental abuse and substance abuse disorders. Under her tenure, Saint John’s built an integrated health unit to assimilate these services to effectively address the root causes of a woman’s homelessness… then replicated it for women transitioning from prison. She worked vehemently at the state and national levels to help policymakers understand that for success, a bed plus trauma-informed services is key. Answers Behind the Red Door is an example of her continued steadfastness and passion for pursuing what is necessary to heal and invigorate the homeless and incarcerated populations.”

 

DAWN DAVISON

Retired Warden, Correctional Consultant

 

“Answers Behind the Red Door—Michele Steeb began a labor of love that included not only shelter and respite to often traumatized women and their children, but programs for job training, case management, addiction recovery, financial literacy and personal relationship competency. She engaged and challenged houses of faith, business leaders, and governmental authorities to join in the work. That engagement eventually became less and less of an ‘ask’ as Saint John’s Program for Real Change became an amazing place of true transformation. In short, previously homeless women began to believe in themselves. I have often said that Michele believed in them first before they even could. ...I trust Michele as she allows us a peek behind the Red Door to understand the institutional challenges these women and children (and the organizations that seek to walk with them) have to navigate in our country. She will never be silent because she so firmly believes we can all be and do better. And if Michele starts believing that for us, I trust we will all eventually find that we believe it ourselves. There are few people one gets to know in life that really catches your attention, not just because they’re big-hearted, but because they help others to grow...in both their worldview and in their life mission, too.”

 

PASTOR FRANK ESPEGREN

St. John's Lutheran Church, Sacramento

 

 

 

“I have known Michele Steeb for 15 years. She led the most successful Shelter and rehabilitation center for women and children in the entire Sacramento Region.  The entire Central Valley area of Northern California knew about Michele’s work and heart and knew of St. John’s program for Real Change. So many people who genuinely cared about the recovery of young women they loved, referred young ladies to St. John’s, that they continually had over 200 people on their waiting list. All of that trust and respect is due to Michele. She genuinely cared for the young ladies, their children, and the community.  She developed a system to get the young ladies work experience, build up their resumes, gain valuable contacts, build their confidence, and transition to new housing and a brand new life.    As the Pastor of Bayside, Midtown church, right in the heart of the city of Sacramento, I can’t thank Michele enough for her friendship, mentorship, and assistance with many of our people.  As a pastor, I can truly say, that Michele lives put her faith, and models Jesus’ love, truth, and grace, as well as anyone I’ve known!  

BOB BALIAN

Co-Lead Pastor, Bayside Midtown

Chaplain, Sacramento Kings “

 

 

 

“In her new book, Answers Behind the Red Door, Michele Steeb combines compassion with intelligence and outlines a path for reforming our broken system. She understands both the human challenge of homelessness and the dysfunction of our public policies. Answers Behind the Red Door sheds new light on the crisis, which has overtaken West Coast cities—and threatens to undermine the American Dream.”

 

CHRISTOPHER RUFO

Director of Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty