Assistance needed by Salvation Army

As summer begins, The Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command is asking for assistance. The 122 year-old nonprofit organization is struggling to meet the growing demand of the greater Houston area’s most vulnerable populations: youth and families. This summer, the charity organization’s Summer Camp programs are struggling to register youth in the local area whose families might not otherwise be able to send them to summer camps. In addition, because of the demand, funding for The Salvation Army’s Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program has almost been exhausted.

“We are really in a tough spot right now. Our donations are down by about $650,000. We have a waiting list at some of our summer camp programs, and that’s something we generally don’t see,” says Major Chris Flanagan, Area Commander for The Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command.  “What we are unwilling to do is to stop providing these services.  We are hopeful the Houston community will respond to our plea for assistance this summer.”

Because of the continuing economic recession, certain Boys & Girls Clubs operated by The Salvation Army have seen a significant increase in youth registrations.

“The demand has truly been overwhelming,” explained Major Flanagan.  “At a time when budgets across the state are being reduced, people are being laid off, and even parks and community centers have to close their doors, our community is really in need of facilities like ours for their children.”

The Salvation Army offers one of the local region’s most affordable summer camp programs for working families who need a safe place to leave their children during daytime hours. Weekly fees for the program are on a sliding scale system and some families pay as little as $15 a week per child. The new Garden City Boys & Girls Club is already operating daily programs for local youth, and evening activities for teenagers and young adults, with the intention of keeping these young people in a positive environment, off of the streets.

“We are very committed to our Boys & Girls Clubs, and especially to what we are able to achieve through their existence in the community… Garden City and the rest of our facilities will serve our youth, we just need help from the community to do so,” confirmed Major Flanagan.

In addition, The Salvation Army’s homeless prevention and re-housing program is also struggling.  Since 2009, The Salvation Army has been operating the federally funded Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, with the objective of helping families avoid homelessness.  However, as the economy continues in a recession and local businesses and organizations increase budget cuts and layoffs, more individuals are seeking the aid of The Salvation Army, and these resources have almost been exhausted.  As of this month, The Salvation Army’s social services department had already served 20 percent more households than it did during the same timeframe in 2010.  That’s an increase of over 160 percent since 2009.

“The big difference is that now people are actually homeless.  In order to qualify for the rapid re-housing program they have to have been homeless at some time during the last 30 days, and the majority of clients who are coming to us now have been,” said Gerald Eckert, director of social services for The Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command.  “They’ve been laid off; they’ve exhausted all their resources, and they no longer have a place to live. We help them get back in a stable living situation.”

In order to continue providing these services The Salvation Army is already considering other alternatives to reducing its expenses.

“The best way for people and corporations to help us is to make monetary donations. These contributions allow us the flexibility to be able to fill in our shortfalls across the board, as needed,” added Major Flanagan.  “This is a tremendous opportunity for corporations especially to give back, and help those most in need in our community.”

Blog Archives

Powered by mod LCA
Join Houston Woman Community
BuyCurrent
Houston Woman Magazine Digita lEdition
Join Our E-mail List
Email: