Army partners with local group to aid homeless in Daytona Beach area

By: Brad Rowland

Dating back to discussions beginning in March, The Salvation Army of East Volusia and Flagler County is working closely with the Volusia-Flagler Coalition for the Homeless to meet a growing need in and around Daytona Beach, Florida. While COVID-19 has a daily impact on the lives of billions, homeless populations are sharply affected and, with only a small handful of shelters in the region, resources are scarce in providing care and guidance for those facing health challenges during this time.

In response, the coalition is executing a plan to care for COVID-positive individuals, using a similar blueprint already in place to assistant homeless veterans and families in the region. The Salvation Army is a significant part of the response, utilizing a partnership with a local hotel to provide shelter and ensure the isolation and nourishment required for individuals to heal.

“We aim to be good stewards of the funding we receive, making sure that it is used for the appropriate care,” said Solinka McIntosh, director of social services. “That is something that I value immensely in working with the hospitals, the government agencies, the health department, the coalition for the homeless and everyone involved. It’s a great collaboration in that we are all working together to help people in need.”

Individuals are referred to The Salvation Army from the local health department and/or local medical facilities. From there, The Salvation Army serves as a liaison with the hotel, providing lodging, food, water, hygiene kits and case management. For health and safety reasons, clients are not permitted to leave the hotel until they test negative, with the Army providing additional food and water for weekends, looking ahead to maintain nourishment and comfort.

The process is ongoing, with the criteria for assistance recently expanding to cover those at-risk of infection, rather than only for individuals who are already testing positive. CDC guidelines for health and safety are followed and, with the food and necessities provided, The Salvation Army is caring for the physical needs of members of the community.

Beyond that, however, The Salvation Army is stepping in to fulfill what is seen as a calling and a ministry, doing the most good with the available resources.

“This is not just work for us,” McIntosh said. “I try to instill this in my staff as well but, make no mistake, this is a ministry… We have to be able to meet the needs of the public, no matter what is happening around us. We’re still taking proper precautions that we need to take, but I pray that the holy spirit is with us in all that we are doing.”