Homemakers of Mercy Partners with Charlotte Area Command’s Supportive Housing Project
By: Brooke Turbyfill
At the Charlotte Center of Hope, women participate in programs to help them escape homelessness and get on the road to a sustainable living wage, housing and avoid recidivism. One of the ways that Salvation Army caseworkers in Charlotte help the women is through the Supportive Housing Initiative Partnerships, or SHIP program.
The SHIP program, funded by a grant, allows The Salvation Army to find affordable housing and give the women a break on the first few months’ rent or utility bills as they get back on their feet. If the SHIP program is the handshake, the Army’s partnership with the Homemakers of Mercy is the bracelet on the wrist. Volunteers from Homemakers of Mercy work year-round to find furniture and housewares donations that help make an apartment a home. Then, once a woman is scheduled to leave the Center of Hope and move into her apartment, the Homemakers of Mercy volunteers swoop in like the home-making angels they are.
They place furniture, decorate the home, make sure each child has bedding and room décor to suit his or her needs and likes, and there’s even a volunteer who cooks the family a meal and leaves it for them so that all the guesswork on move-in day is replaced by respite and gratitude. While the volunteers are happy to serve in such tangible ways, they rarely meet clients who receive their kind gestures. For the Homemakers of Mercy, it’s enough to know that their efforts are serving someone who is getting a second chance at sustainability.
Laura Hull, one of the volunteers with Homemakers of Mercy, said that helping with the SHIP program has opened her eyes to how much The Salvation Army does for the community. “The number of families they help is huge,” she said, “whether it’s day to day at the Center of Hope, placing families in transitional or permanent housing, or any of the other programs they provide. I really don’t know what this community would do without The Salvation Army.”