The Salvation Army of Lakeland breaks ground on the expansion of the George W. Jenkins Community of Hope

Lakeland, FL – On Thursday, September 15, 2022, at 9:00 A.M., The Salvation Army will break ground on their semi-permanent transitional housing for families with housing insecurity needs.  The current site of the George W. Jenkins Community of Hope village will add an additional 20 rooms to its existing emergency shelter, 12 new apartments for transitional living, 13 houses for supportive housing, and a community and worship center to serve the community.

Despite the lack of affordable housing and post pandemic eviction moratoriums families experiening homelessness may find semi-permanent lodging at the only family shelter in Central Florida.

A correlation exists between stable housing and increased graduation rates in Polk County, especially in the emergency shelter, which opened seven years ago. According to Captain Jeremy Mockabee, homeless children in Florida have an 88% chance of progressing to the next grade level. “If you’re an average income family and everything is fine with housing, you have a 96% chance of progressing to the next grade.” Families whose shelter services are facilitated through the Pathway of Home initiative have a 99.6% progression rate. “We are not just babysitters,” said Captain Mockabee. Students staying in shelters are provided with a curriculum, and Polk County school teachers tutor them after school and monitor their progress.

Aside from providing emergency shelter and resolving housing crises, Pathway of Home provides free services such as life skills classes, financial planning, referrals to other community agencies, transportation, and child-care support, as well as case management support focused on sustainable housing. As part of the Pathway of Home initiative, semi-permanent, transitional housing provides families with the opportunity to achieve self-sufficiency, financial independence, and home ownership.

For more information about the Hope for Home expansion at the George W. Jenkins Community, or about The Salvation Army please call Captain Jeremy Mockabee at 863.393.5548, or visit our website at https://salvationarmyflorida.org/lakeland/

#####

About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army annually helps more than 30 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy , The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood

THE SALVATION ARMY ORLANDO AREA COMMAND ANNOUNCES PATHWAY TO HOUSING

An innovative housing project to move from homelessness to housing in Osceola County

 

ORLANDO, FL – (May 9, 2022) – The Salvation Army of Osceola County is excited to announce an innovative housing project moving families from homelessness to housing. Spearheaded by Osceola County Commissioner Peggy Choudhry in partnership with Housing 4 All, LaRosa Realty & LaRosa Foundation, Career Source, Osceola Council on Aging, and other financial literacy partners, this is a game-changer in changing the lives of many for years to come.

 

As affordable housing in Central Florida has moved the area to the top of the list of least affordable places to live in the U.S., and The Salvation Army seeing more and more clients in need of assistance, Commissioner Choudhry knew something had to be done. Bringing together like-minded individuals and organizations to not only find affordable housing, but to help families maintain financial stability and secure their futures. This program, called “Pathway to Housing”, is an extension of The Salvation Army’s existing “Pathway to Hope” nationwide initiate providing high-quality case management and outreach services to families with children desiring to take action to break the cycle of crisis and intergenerational poverty. In today’s climate, finding financial footing and being able to afford a house is an unrealistic goal for many at or below the poverty level. Pathway to Housing will get families off the cusp of ruin and give them the financial guidance to see them through managing bills, living within their means, saving money, all while living in housing provided by one of the partner property owners. The outcome, a family moving into homeownership within a year to 18 months and possessing the knowledge and skills to maintain and grow a healthy financial future. Rent will be paid for one year allowing participants to save what they would have put towards rent as a down payment on their own home. As they work with a case manager and save their money, the kids are also learning these skills to better their chances of financial stability and sustainability – breaking that cycle. The Salvation Army and Housing 4 All will then match what the families save to double their down payment amount on a home of their own.

 

With funding from County, City, public and private entities, the number of families that can be mentored, is endless. Says Captain Ken Chapman, Salvation Army Orlando Area Commander, “When non-profit, for profit, government, and private donors collaborate, the community is a healthier place.” With an initial investment by Osceola County of

$1,000,000 and Walmart with $50,000, the partnerships and outcomes are endless.

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.salvationarmyorlando.org or www.salvationarmyosceola.org . Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok @salarmyorlando or @salarmyosceola and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/salvationarmyorlando or www.facebook.com/salvationarmyosceola.

 

###

break the cycle of povertyAfter a challenging and tumultuous period in her life, Crystal checked in to The Salvation Army’s family shelter at the Community of Hope in Lakeland, Florida. Upon arrival, her central goal was to build a stable home for herself and three children, especially after a recent eviction.

Just a few weeks into Crystal’s maximum 90-day stay in the family shelter, she enrolled in the Pathway of Hope program and quickly secured a job at a local restaurant. From there, Crystal opened a bank account to embark on her plan to save money in order to transition out of the shelter and into stable, secure housing.

“We could tell right away that Crystal was ready for change, and that is really what Pathway of Hope is all about,” said Cristina Coulson, Social Services Program Coordinator. “She was really ready to break the cycle of poverty that she had been experiencing for years, and to do it for her children. The program was a great fit for her, and everything worked well, in part because she was so on board with being held accountable.”

With visible and clear motivation to improve her circumstances, Crystal continued to progress. Eventually, she signed a lease on a house, with The Salvation Army providing some financial assistance and Crystal contributing in a significant manner from money saved through her new employment. Ultimately, Crystal’s housing situation is now secure, with her dwelling fully furnished and comfortable for herself and her school-aged children.

Crystal remains active in the Pathway of Hope initiative, including weekly case management meetings with Coulson to help her navigate the coming days and months. Crystal also plans to continue her education by pursuing her GED, and she aims to secure a driver’s license. Her journey continues with an eye toward a better future, and her story stands as an illustration of what hard work and persistence can bring.

“Pathway of Hope works because it is a partnership between the case manager and the client,” Coulson said. “We purposefully work at the client’s pace, meeting them where they are. I think Crystal’s story is really a perfect reminder that, through Pathway of Hope, we can really break the cycle of poverty for people that have faced hardships for large portions of their life. I think she’s a shining example of someone who really wanted to put in the work, and we were able to come alongside her in the journey.”

Find out more about The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope Initiative.

By: Brad Rowland

Tiffany is a hard-working, independent mother who has been providing for herself and her family since her ex-husband left her and their two children while she was 4 months pregnant with their third child.

“I found myself alone with no friends and family to help,” says Tiffany. “I was behind on my rent and facing food insecurity.” That’s when she found The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army helped Tiffany with financial support in order to keep a roof over her family’s heads, utility support, food from our pantry, and other wrap-around services.

“As a single mother, my biggest concern was providing stability for my family, and The Salvation Army is the biggest part of my support system, hands down.”

Nowadays, The Salvation Army is working with Tiffany’s family through our Pathway of Hope program, which provides individualized services to families with children who desire to take action to break the cycle of poverty.

“I get really emotional when I think about it because The Salvation Army has helped me so much,” she says. “So if you are reading this I want to thank you. Because of your donation I was able to keep a roof over my family’s head and food in our house.”

Poverty in the U.S. is an epidemic – including one in five children, according to the latest Census figures. Children who live in poverty for half their childhood are 32 times more likely to remain in poverty (according to The Urban Institute).

The Salvation Army works with many of these families by addressing immediate needs. Pathway of Hope is the next step for us to help them break the cycle of poverty.

The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope initiative provides individualized services to families with children who desire to take action to break the cycle of crisis and vulnerability that repeats generation after generation. It seeks to address the root causes of poverty in addition to The Army’s history of compassionate serving. By helping families overcome challenges like unemployment, unstable housing, and lack of education, we can lead families down a path toward increased stability and, ultimately, self-sufficiency.

  • Catalyzing community collaboration in service of shared clients
  • Moving families from crises and vulnerability to stability and eventually self-sufficiency, tracking family progress along the way
  • Bringing all The Salvation Army’s internal resources to bear, aligned to the goals of clients
  • Focus on hope as a measured outcome, which represents the distinctly relational, spiritual outcome that The Salvation Army seeks in the work it does
  • Strengths-based case management services

TneeshaTneeshia enrolled in The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Her goal was to find housing for herself and her two-year-old son and start her path toward earning her GED.

“By early March, me and my son had moved into an apartment, and I was taking in-person GED classes,” said Tneeshia.

Unfortunately, Tneeshia’s efforts to obtain her high school diploma were jeopardized when a government stay-at-home order forced her to stay in her apartment without daycare. This put her in the difficult position of juggling online schooling and caring for her toddler.

A local Salvation Army employee called Tneeshia regularly and delivered food to her home along with household items such as a bathroom set and dishes, encouraging her not to give up.

A few weeks ago, Tneeshia earned enough credits to obtain her high school diploma. Her next goals are to find a job and daycare and to obtain a driver’s license.

pathway of hope angel story

“I fell asleep at police departments sometimes just to know my children were safe.”

These are the words of Angel, a mother of two daughters who was living in her car with her girls after becoming homeless during the COVID-19 crisis. The family was referred to The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program to get back on track.

“It was a support system that was genuine. It wasn’t just for show. They really got down on the level I was on and felt what we were going through,” Angel explained.

“My caseworker didn’t judge. He told me, ‘Human to human, I see what you’re going through, but I believe in you.’ He saw me at my lowest and helped me climb back up.”

Angel and her girls are now living in the safety of their own apartment, and all three are thriving.

Lynette and her six children found themselves homeless after leaving a domestic-violence situation. She found a temporary home at The Salvation Army.

“They just poured out more love into them and into me. When I first came, I was a wreck. I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally, and slowly and surely, I’m rebuilding myself, one day at a time,” she said.

“Right now I’m in a year-long program called Pathway of Hope . . . I feel free, I feel like I’m ready to live. I’m homeless, we’re displaced, and I am the happiest that I’ve been in probably 10 years.”

To find out more about The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program, click here.

Pathway of Hope

The Pathway of Hope initiative, launched by The Salvation Army in 2011, provides targeted services to families to take action in breaking the generational cycle of crisis and enabling a path out of poverty.

“Pathway [of Hope] has been a wonderful way for our social work to move beyond a band-aid approach to poverty for our clients and into a long-term relationship with a case manager, who is able to meet clients where they are to provide ongoing support and services,” said Lieutenant LeAnna Marion, Salvation Army Administrator.

“We are able through this program to connect our clients with other community resources that fill a gap in our own for a more holistic program,” Lieutenant Marion said. “We have seen success in some of our clients reaching their own set goals with Pathway of Hope.”

One recent success of the initiative is Alexis Pickens, a young mother of three children who came to The Salvation Army needing help and without a traditional support system.

“Alexis doesn’t necessarily have a strong family support system,” said Tina Nehls, Salvation Army Case Management Specialist. “She doesn’t necessarily know what it’s like to have someone who would understand what she’s going through and have the ability to enable her to help herself. With Pathway of Hope, we’ve been able to do that with her.”

In a short time, Alexis garnered employment, housing, and the stability to provide for her family. While her progress was incremental, her humble, sweet persona made an impact on those around her, and Alexis was able to overcome significant adversity, both financial and physical.

“These families, including Alexis, are just amazing,” the case management specialist said. “I’m not doing anything. It’s the families that are doing the work. They just need a little guidance or maybe need to be pointed in the right direction, but they’re doing the work.”

Other individuals and families are working through the Pathway of Hope, including some escaping abusive and damaging circumstances that go well beyond financial need. The Salvation Army is implementing motivational interviewing techniques in the Pathway of Hope, helping to understand where individuals seeking assistance are coming from and using that information to best serve others.

“I’ve always liked being a social worker, and I always felt like I was helping people,” Nehls said. “But this program is so different. The case management aspect is phenomenal. Instead of mainly troubleshooting, we’re building relationships. We’re getting to know these families and what they really need.

“We’re diving deeper and really helping to mold these individuals and families for the better,” she said. “I wish I could do it every day.”

Each day, families are experiencing total transformations, from virtual helplessness in some cases to full, maintainable stability. That includes not only the securing of stable employment and housing, but also the vital presence of genuine hope for the future.

“It’s amazing how God is working here,” Nehls said. “I’m sure he’s working in other places as well, but every one of my Pathway of Hope families has met every goal and set new ones. Little by little, everybody is enjoying success. Glory to God.”

By: Brad Rowland

“Pathway of Hope is the evolution of what The Salvation Army has provided since its creation,” says Cheryl Wilson, Salvation Army case manager.

“The Salvation Army has existed for over 150 years as an organization that serves basic emergency needs. But today, we know that we can address the root causes of what keeps a person in need,” says Wilson. “Transactional provision of food and resources are great, but the change that Pathway of Hope can offer is goal and action-oriented; it’s made to impact this and future generations.”

Wilson gets to know the people she helps and addresses the root causes of what keeps them from achieving stability and self–sufficiency. Housing, childcare, reliable transportation, and gainful employment are all part of a stable living situation. “Every part impacts the others,” explains Wilson. “If your car breaks down or you don’t have someone to watch your kids, you might not be able to work.”

The most common aspect of generational poverty Wilson sees is the lack of basic job skills. But even when those skills are present, there can also be other unavoidable barriers.

“We don’t really say it or even think about it, but when we’re working with young, single mothers in their 20s, the lack of family support is a big cause of multigeneration poverty,” says Wilson. She remembers a client, Dee Dee, who was in nursing school. When her child’s father broke up with Dee Dee, she had nowhere to go.

“Dee Dee is an amazing person, but she didn’t have support. She couldn’t live with her family. Her car had broken down and she had no one to take her to work. She finally came to our food pantry for help,” says Wilson.

The first thing Wilson did was to take Dee Dee’s car in for repairs. While the car was in the shop, Wilson drove her to nursing school. “My children studied medicine, so I know what that training is like. You simply can’t miss those classes,” says Wilson.

Wilson also helped another client, Marquita, a mother of three, get child support from her ex–husband. In addition, Marquita obtained a full–time job, a deposit for an income–based apartment, and child care for her youngest.

“In this job, you see things from the client’s perspective. Even free childcare requires a lot of waiting and paperwork,” says Wilson. She took documents for Marquita to daycare and to family court so she would not miss work. “Some days, you just have to be an advocate,” says Wilson.

Meeting with car mechanics, landlords, and court officials has become part of the job for Wilson. It’s the “hope” in Pathway of Hope: helping clients get ahead by doing what they can’t do for themselves—because they are trying to maintain jobs and other essential aspects of their lives.

“When you’re in a crisis and you don’t know where to turn, take a deep breath, and know that someone has your back at [The Salvation Army],” says Wilson.

by Hugo Bravo

 

See Also: Pathway of Hope families see success in self-reliance


What is Pathway of Hope?

The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope initiative provides individualized services to families with children. These families desire to take action to break the cycle of crisis and vulnerability that repeats generation after generation. The Pathway of Hope’s focus is to seek to address the root causes of poverty while continuing The Salvation Army’s history of compassionate serving. By helping families overcome challenges such as unemployment, unstable housing, and a lack of education, The Salvation Army leads families down a path toward increased stability and self–sufficiency.

Through Pathway of Hope, The Salvation Army introduces families to services that are available within their community. These services offer a network of support, a sense of belonging, holistic programs, and spiritual guidance. Families also receive a connection to job training, health services, childcare and education, housing options, legal services, and much more.

For more information on where The Salvation Army has instituted the Pathway of Hope initiative in Florida, please click here

Original Article