The Salvation Army Mississippi Gulf Coast Area Command Center of Hope will be a facility serving homeless families and single men and women in Gulfport, Mississippi. It seeks to provide shelter, drug/alcohol addiction support, employment services and support in finding homes for residents.
The Mission of the Center of Hope is to serve all of the homeless who come to us in need, no matter their condition, by restoring hope through discipleship and supportive services that transition them into employment, homes and a wholesome spiritual lifestyle. The Center of Hope facility will be a 28,500 Square Foot structure, located on half of a city block, providing 120 beds, multipurpose room, kitchen, administrative offices, meeting rooms, child play/study areas, and chapel. It is our hope that the facility will be located at 8405 HWY 49 Gulfport.
The Salvation Army owns the land and raised the roughly $3.3 million needed for construction. The Salvation Army also met with an architect, developed the plans and completed the design of the facility.
As the Center of Hope is a transitional housing facility, The Salvation Army is first and foremost looking to provide homeless residents with safe, secure, and sanitary housing of their own. Residents at the Center of Hope will be allowed to stay at the facility up to 2 years, which includes up to 18 months after they obtain employment. During this time, the Center of Hope plans to provide:
- Job Skills – Assistance with job applications, interview skills, training, retraining and GED classes. A referral relationship with the WIN Center in Gulfport will be created to help clients.
- Counseling Services – Counselors will assist clients who have a history of domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, parental conflicts and other issues that led to homelessness. The goal being self-sufficiency.
- Referrals for clients in need of drug/alcohol and gambling intervention – The Salvation Army has a drug/alcohol intervention program in New Orleans and we plan to provide transportation for Center of Hope members in need.
- Family budget and finance classes which will assist Center residents with self-sufficiency issues.
- In addition, because this facility will support families, additional programs include parenting classes, family budget and finance classes, tutoring for kids, and daycare onsite.
The Center will continue the current efforts of the Salvation Army in providing assistance with Food Stamps, Medicaid, Social Security, utility assistance, clothing and food pantry, and rehousing services at this location. These services will be provided to the community at large during regular business hours as is currently done from our Area Command Social Service offices at 2019 22nd Street, Gulfport.
The Center of Hope will be self contained. There will be no need for waiting outside for doors to open or for a line to move. There is adequate space inside the lobby for visitors, guests and residents to wait while checking in for appointments with staff. No loitering around the site will be encouraged or tolerated. Meal services will be provided in the dining room of The Center to residents only.
To accomplish these objectives we will be heavily dependent on a staff of Licensed Social Workers, Case Workers, Housing Monitors and volunteers to make these programs work. The goal at the Center for Hope is to provide a one-stop center where the homeless can get the skills, training and support they need to transition into employment, housing and a wholesome mental, physical and spiritual lifestyle!
The primary mission of the Center of Hope is to provide safe and affordable housing for the homeless, jobs that allow residents to live independently and the opportunity to further their education by providing GED classes.
The intended result for the Center of Hope is to provide shelter in Gulfport adequate to meet the needs of the homeless. We have consulted nonprofits across the country, which manage transitional shelters for the homeless, regarding best practices. The Salvation Army’s goal is to also share the lessons learned as we engage the homeless in the Gulfport area. The Center of Hope will track things such as: average length of stay, number of residents who find employment and number of residents who find housing. Each resident will also be contacted after they leave the program to determine the long-term effectiveness of the shelter experience.