Salvation Army emergency housing shelter now rebuilt and operational again

Published 6:40 am Friday, May 10, 2024

Nothing much goes on around 3020 Legion Street during the day, but at 4:30 p.m., the scene shifts. Men, women and children can be seen trudging toward the 52-bed Salvation Army emergency housing shelter that opened March 21. There, they will receive what some people take for granted, a safe, climate-controlled environment for the next 14 hours, a hot shower, a washer and dryer and a warm, nutritious dinner.

“It is a blessing to offer our services again,” said Lt. Roslyn Morrison, Corps Officer for the Lake Charles Salvation Army.

The new facility replaces the all-men’s shelter destroyed by the hurricanes of 2020, and was built mostly with money from private donations “from our wonderful community,” according Morrison.        

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The Salvation Army invites the public to see the new facility for themselves at the re-opening dedication Tuesday, May 21. Those who wish to do so, may bring non-perishable food items at this time.

“There is actually an opportunity for Sunday School groups, civic organizations and others to sponsor a night at the Salvation Army,” Morrison said. Sponsorship means preparing and serving the food for the evening meal.      

The Salvation Army also accepts laundry detergent, toiletries, towels, clothing, linens, blankets and pillowcases, according to program coordinator Kristianna Guillory.

Morrison said the Lake Charles Salvation Army has not applied for federal funding in the past because its mission – “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination” – has restricted applying for certain funding. However, no religious activity occurs in the new shelter. Morrison is taking a complete inventory of needs now that the shelter has opened before applying for HUD funding and funding from other sources.

“I know we’re trying to get a contract with the VA right now to fund our veterans (who come to the shelter),” she said.

Guillory is responsible for linking some of the homeless she meets with to services with the Department of Health, Goodwill and other workforce/training centers. She said that since the shelter opened in March, most of the people who use the shelter have not been able to keep up with rising rental rates.

“We had one woman who asked to stay until she could come up with the $100 fee required to submit an application for a rental,” Guillory said.

Soon Guillory will be out promoting the Salvation Army’s resources. Without any promotion, the shelter houses an estimated 30 persons per night. Individuals may stay at the shelter no more than 30 days consecutively and may only use the shelter three times during the year.

“We’re taking this one day at a time,” Guillory said, “one day at a time.”

For more information, contact Lt. Morrison at Roslhyn.Morrison@uss.salvation or call 337-721-8068.