Salvation Army asks for help to offer more beds for those who’re struggling

Published: Dec. 28, 2020 at 11:22 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With the pandemic, financial woes, and cold weather setting in, homeless shelters are facing a trio of challenges.

“The family shelter has been full pretty much all year since COVID started,” said Dr. Gregory Rhodes, local social services manager for the Salvation Army.

Winter is the busiest season for the Salvation Army’s three shelters here, but in a time when they need more beds, they end up having less to offer.

“Unfortunately, because of our COVID capacity, we’ve had to turn some people away because we just don’t have the space,” Rhodes said.

The men’s shelter typically holds around 51 beds, but COVID-19 precautions have cut that number dramatically.

“Right now, we’re probably running at about 30 to 38 beds a night,” Rhodes said.

And every single bed is filled. And it’s not solo occupants, either. They’re also seeing more families seeking help.

Back in August, a study by the Aspen Institute found 30 million to 40 million Americans were at risk of eviction by the end of the year. This year, the local Salvation Army has helped 48 families transition to stable housing. They’re also helping people keep their homes.

“Right now, we’re probably working on about 15 cases that we’re trying to close put before the holiday,” Rhodes said.

Project Share helps with rental and utility assistance for families at risk of eviction.

“So it’s heartbreaking to see families come through and it’s heartbreaking to have to turn someone away,” Rhodes said.

And they don’t want to turn people away, so they’re hoping community donations do, too.

There is a way that you can help because they have fewer red kettles out in the community this year, the Salvation Army is accepting virtual kettle donations.

Click here to donate virtually.

The Salvation Army is also hosting a video game tournament to help raise funds. That tournament starts this weekend.

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