Lack of Funds Could Shut Down Salvation Army's Shelter

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

HARRISONBURG, Va.--- The Salvation Army shelter in Harrisonburg may be forced to shut down if it does not find a long-term solution to fund it.

Captain Duane Burleigh said the organization has had an annual $100,000 deficit for the past three years. This is after the organization did not receive some state and federal grants. Burleigh said it tried to make up for the loss with money from the thrift store and the Christmas kettle donations.

He said it costs nearly $1,000 to run the shelter every day. It has 72 beds to house single men, women and families.

"We have children that live in this shelter that get on the school bus every morning to go to school. What is going to happen to them if there is no other room at other shelters? It hurts," said Burleigh.

For Lyniece Saturnus, it would hurt losing her current home because it was the only place she could turn to after falling in hard times.

"I became homeless from an abusive situation and I moved away to Harrisonburg area to get away from the situation," said Saturnus.

She does not know where she would go, if this shelter closed.

"I would be out on the street. I don't like that idea with anyone. I don't care if it is myself, families or non-families," said Saturnus.

Burleigh said is important to keep the shelter open because it helps people 365 days a year.

"Homelessness is not a winter issue, is not a summer issue. It is a year-round issue and the program is helping people year-round to get back on their feet," said Burleigh.

He said this is the only shelter in Harrisonburg and Rockingham county that houses single men and women.

"If we are not here to offer them hope, we are in trouble. Like I said it is my passion to help these folks and if we don't who will?" said Burleigh.

According to Saturnus, the program at this shelter has turned her life around.

"They've brought me further than I've ever been before I become homeless," said Saturnus.

An advancement committee currently has a 90-day limit to review the organization's operations and come up with a plan to continue to fund the program. Burleigh said the plan will lay out ways the community can help solve the problem.

If you would like to help in the meantime, the Salvation Army will take donations.


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