Booth Shelter Helps Families Find Stability"The Salvation Army’s Booth Center has helped about 46 households in the past year and a half."
Since switching its model to emergency housing exclusively for families rather than both families and individuals, The Salvation Army’s Booth Center has helped about 46 households in the past year and a half. The size of the family varies, as do the circumstances that bring them to the shelter. Some families have been as big as eight individuals, others as small as two, such as Bailey Gris and her 6-month-old daughter, Anatalia “Tally” Faye.
They have stayed at the Booth Center for more than 100 days, which is longer than the average length of stay of 81 days. “It’s not just about outdoors. It’s about whether or not you’ve been able to take a shower, whether or not you have anything on you to eat,” Gris said. “I have my own space and privacy, and I had been on the street for four and a half years and the most privacy I had gotten was someone’s bathroom where I hoped—I really hoped—that the lock would hold.”
She’s been able to qualify for food stamps, health care, a childcare subsidy and other benefits, and has been afforded the time to find future housing. The shelter currently has six families with three open apartments. During the winter, there were larger families staying. Corps Officer Major Ron Key is proud that the Booth Center, which is located at Sixth and Messanie streets, has helped 70% of the families staying there find permanent housing. “I’d like to get to 100%, that’s my goal. I would love to see that,” Key said. “Because 70% is something great, but I don’t think we can be satisfied with that.”
Since December of 2019, the Booth Center has taken in 46 families, amounting to 159 individuals. That equals 12,955 nights of shelter provided. The Salvation Army Social Services Director Allison Lippard has worked with families on improving their life skills. Within 24 hours of their stay, clients (or residents) have met with a case manager and developed a housing stability plan. There is no template for those plans. Every family is unique in their own situation, but one thing that does help the process is they get to stick together.
“Luckily, with this program, families can stay united as they work on their housing stability plans,” Lippard said. “It’s one less trauma that we have to inflict on already tough times for a family.” Some families that have left the Booth Center continue to check in with Lippard, whether that means telling her how their kids are doing in school, how they have mended relationships in their family, how they’ve landed jobs or how they’ve found a new place to live. “It’s really heartwarming to get these updates from folks,” Lippard said.
This article first appeared in NewsPressNow.com. Used by permission.