OUR OPINION: Salvation Army needs friends for homeless shelter

By NEMS Daily Journal

The Salvation Army’s role in providing critical human services for people most in need is one of the genuine success stories in Tupelo for the past 40 years, and the SA’s impact could positively increase if plans for enlarging lodge space for men, women and minor children with parents prove feasible.
The Salvation Army’s role in providing shelter of the first resort for homeless people in Tupelo has been a steady part of its ministry since its founding, but the capacity is regularly exceeded and the need for more space made acute by an increasing homeless population.
Army leaders and supporters within the community are assessing a plan to raise about $600,000 all told to build a new space for the shelter, bringing capacity to 40 men, 40 women and family rooms.
Today’s capacity is 19, but circumstances force that upward on occasion.
In January, as the Journal reported on Tuesday, the shelter facilities were pressed to hold 26 residents, including children.
“Originally the lodge was meant for people passing through, but now it has become more residential, as the homeless community in Tupelo has grown,” said Maj. Sue Dorman, senior officer of the Army in north Mississippi.
The Salvation Army requires its part-time residents to seek work, and it helps them with clothing, some education and afterward, in finding permanent housing. All residents go through a background check before admission.
“Our biggest need is for family rooms,” Dorman said.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said in his Feb. 6 State of the City address that Tupelo should help raise the $500,000 remaining to pay for an additional shelter building.
The Salvation Army’s record of work in Tupelo is exceptional, consistent, frugal and devoted to its Christian principles.
We hope increasing its physical resources to a more adequate level becomes possible with community support.