Salvation Army uses grant to protect, shelter residents, assist struggling families

Salvation Army uses grant to protect, shelter residents, assist struggling families

When the coronavirus crisis hit Charlotte, the United Way of Central Carolinas and Foundation For The Carolinas partnered to launch the COVID-19 Response Fund.

The fund supports a range of nonprofits, assisting people most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Importantly, this fund will help not just those who get sick, but also those economically impacted.

One of the grant recipients was The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte, which received $538, 448 to relocate more than 200 individuals at the Center of Hope shelter into hotels to maintain social distancing.

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“While ensuring the safety and ongoing care of the population served, the funding is also enabling The Salvation Army to continue its mission safely and move people into permanent housing,” said Brent Rinehart, director of communications & public relations at The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte. “To date, we have relocated 18 seniors and 76 families and helped 24 rapid-rehousing families to remain in their homes when faced with job loss.”

The Salvation Army strives to be a catalyst for social, economic and spiritual growth in the community by implementing shelter and housing programs, enrichment opportunities for low-income youth, disaster relief and adult rehabilitation for men battling addiction.

Rinehart said the organization serves a population who is most at risk of contracting the coronavirus.

“The Salvation Army serves more than 2,000 ‘literally homeless’ residents of Mecklenburg County annually, 31% of whom have one or more disabilities,” he added. “Safety for these families is our top priority and is at the forefront of our minds every day.”

Looking ahead at post-pandemic, he believes there will be an increased need for emergency shelters and alternate living arrangements such as hotel rooms and subsidized apartments.

“While we don’t know when, we do know the COVID-19 pandemic will one day be in the past,” Rinehart said. “Unfortunately, homelessness will not. We are trusting that our donors, faith partners, and the corporate community will continue to come alongside us to serve these families as they work to recover.”

The Salvation Army is one of many organizations working to solve the affordable housing crisis in the Charlotte area.

“Our experience in Charlotte is that when there is a great need, the community steps up greatly to meet it,” Rinehart said. “For people who are in a position to help their neighbors, we pray they continue to do so.”

Over the next month, Crisis Assistance Ministry expects an unprecedented emergency for those who have lost their jobs or had their work hours cut amid the crushing economic downturn, and due to the financial repercussions the virus has caused.

Crisis Assistance Ministry provides assistance and advocacy for people in financial crisis, helping them move toward self-sufficiency.

Moving forward, our hope is that we will carry on the unity we demonstrated at the start of the pandemic and continue to band together.

The combination of difficulties paying rent, mortgages and utilities, spikes in foreclosures and evictions, the need to assert tenants’ rights, homelessness and a potential second wave of the coronavirus this winter will be a heavy burden for tens of thousands of families to bear.

In response, WSOC-TV has launched 9 Crisis Help. The funds collected will go directly to Crisis Assistance Ministry to help people pay essential bills.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Sinead Taylor, WSOC-TV community affairs specialist, at Sinead.Taylor@wsoc-tv.com.