Fayetteville, N.C., rededicates a remodeled, improved shelter

By: Dan Childs

The Salvation Army in Fayetteville, North Carolina, has reopened its shelter after being closed for 14 months. The facility was rededicated Dec. 1 after closing operations because of damage sustained during Hurricane Matthew in the autumn of 2016.

The shelter closed its doors in October 2016 after heavy rains during Hurricane Matthew left as much as a foot of standing water in the facility. The Corps Officers, Captains Matthew and Cristina Trantham, moved the shelter residents into the corps gymnasium a few blocks away. As many as 115 people were living in the gymnasium, in very difficult, makeshift conditions, for about 30 days.

“We had only two restrooms and two showers for the folks staying with us,” said Captain Matthew Trantham. “It was a very unique situation, but we were able to meet the need.”

In addition to the overcrowded conditions and ongoing challenges with the residents, the Tranthams found themselves calling for assistance frequently from the city police and disaster volunteers.

Because of the damage caused by the hurricane, the shelter facility required extensive repairs, upgrades, and remodeling and was closed while it was being refurbished.

Captain Trantham said that when the shelter reopened in December, it was renamed “The Haven.”

“It is now a facility that the Salvation Army and Fayetteville community will be proud of.  The capacity was downsized from 75 to about 55. Prior to the hurricane we had 80 to 90 people staying at the shelter,” he said.

“We’ve transitioned The Haven to accommodate 7 families and 8 single women to better meet the needs of our community.  By consolidating our efforts and managing our program better, I believe we are better equipped to help those in need find a pathway to hope.”

In addition to providing breakfast and dinner to residents, the Fayetteville shelter provides a “Love Lunch” seven days a week, free of charge, to anyone who needs a meal.

The shelter does not house men now but directs them to other agencies in the Fayetteville area.  They do, however, house men in the gymnasium during freezing weather conditions.

The renovation included many improvements, including new paint, flooring and furniture, as well as upgraded security and fire alarm systems, new heating and air conditioning units and a new shingle roof.