Area men now have a safe place to stay while getting back on their feet, thanks to a transitional living facility the Salvation Army in Greenville opened today.
The facility, which can currently house six residents, is part of a 90 day program designed to prevent homelessness before it starts, according to Salvation Army Corps Administrator Sgt. Wes Trueblood. He hopes to increase the facility’s capacity to 10 soon.
Retired Army veteran James Steele will serve as the lodge manager, overseeing the program and keeping enrollees accountable.
“It is designed to be the kind of place for people that need that little bit of extra help,” he said. “One of the requirements is that they have a full-time job, although we can, at our discretion, grant them a 30 day temporary stay if they’re looking to find a job.”
The facility has a full kitchen where the residents can cook, a living area with cable television, a washer and dryer, bunks with storage space for clothes and personal goods, a full shower and bathroom equipped with toiletries. Maintaining a professional appearance is something that homeless men often struggle with, Trueblood said, and is often one of the reasons they are unable to find or hold on to jobs.
The facility is open, thanks to a successful pilot program instituted by Trueblood and the Salvation Army staff. One of the men enrolled in the pilot program, 29-year-old Greenville native Danny Draude, now has a full-time job and recently put down a deposit and first month’s rent on an apartment.
“It was a joyous moment,” he said, adding that the Salvation Army helped him furnish the apartment and provide the deposit. “I was an addict, homeless. I tried to do this on my own power. I went to rehab, I went to prison. Now, the sky is the limit.”
Draude credits his faith in Jesus Christ and the Salvation Army for his success.
“Jesus works through people who are obedient,” he said. “The staff here has kept me accountable and helped build me up. Jesus had the power to change my life.”
Draude now attents the Salvation Army’s Sunday church service and plays drums in the worship band. He said that he’s been able to fix a relationship with his family.
Opening the transitional living facility is the first step in the Salvation Army’s Homelessness Prevention and Rehousing Program (HPRP). Later stages in the initiative include operating a full service homeless shelter for men, women and children along with the transitional living facility. According to Trueblood, Greenville is a stopping point for the homeless that are coming to or from Dallas, as well as individuals from Greenville who become homeless. In order for that initiative to be successful, Trueblood said, the community would have to support it.
“We need the non-profits and service groups in the county to come together to form a coalition against homelessness,” he said. “All of the agencies would work together in harmony, each taking a different responsibility so that we can end a lot of the issues or potential issues and focus on helping people.
Currently, the biggest need the Salvation Army has is funding. Trueblood said that individuals can give directly, or shop at their thrift store. Thrift store proceeds go to support the Salvation Army’s programs.
“We know that some budgets are tight, so a great way to help is, instead of shopping somewhere else, come in and shop in the thrift store,” he said. “We have some inexpensive things, but we also have some extremely beautiful and nice items.”
The organization’s food pantry, which helps support their residents’ food needs as well as the local community’s, is also in need of donations.
The Salvation Army is located at 4601 King Street in Greenville. For more information, call 903-455-1875.