Salvation Army of Midland finds key to rehousing shelter clients
Before Captians Robert and Kristin Coriston were tapped to take over the Salvation Army of Midland about three years ago, the operation mostly provided emergency shelter. But the Coristons and their staff wanted to take this community service a step further. In addition to providing temporary housing to individuals, they wanted to rehouse them.
Easier said than done, of course, but judging by the Salvation Army of Midland’s latest announcement, the Coristons along with their staff have found the keys to the rehousing conundrum.
This year, the Salvation Army of Midland has been able to secure 26 Section 8 housing vouchers, and including three children that makes 29 shelter clients that will be in permanent housing in the coming weeks. That’s about 43 percent of the nonprofit’s overcrowded shelter’s capacity, all set to be successfully rehoused.
“They are driving around looking at apartments,” Capt. Rob said.
How did they do it? Hard work, of course.
When the Program team launched the rehousing program at the Salvation Army of Midland, their mission was to discover how to overcome the complex roadblocks keeping their clients from obtaining housing. They then work to overcome each one of them.
One problem the Salvation Army ran into was clients lacking identification. So, with the help of our lead social worker, Elsa Romero, they started an ID program to track down driver’s licenses, social security numbers and other necessary documentation, all of which can be difficult to obtain when a client doesn’t have an address. To solve this particular problem, the Salvation Army fetched an affidavit from the state allowing clients to use the shelter as their address.
The Salvation Army also coordinated closely with the Midland County Housing Authority, which gives the nonprofit’s clients priority in notification when rooms open up. They also search for any possible benefits to support their clients, such as disability, and make sure their applications contain all the necessary, accurate information, including proof of income.
“I think we figured it out,” Capt. Rob said. “The last time we tried this, it was kind of our beta test…I think this is the first time where it feels like we’re going to make a dent in the homeless population.”
But the journey to ensure clients can remain in permanent housing doesn’t end after they receive the keys to their apartment.
The Salvation Army is fundraising to not only to grow its rehousing program by getting its social services up to full strength, but also in order to ensure clients remain in housing. The plan is to provide clients with after-care through programs like the Pathway of Hope. To do this, the Salvation Army of Midland aims to hire a couple of social workers.
With community support, the Salvation Army of Midland found that the complex and difficult rehousing process is achievable.
“We found that a lot of our clients are ready to do the work,” he said, adding, “The goal is to get them back to an even playing field.”
To donate to support the Salvation Army’s rehousing efforts, click here.