LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The Salvation Army of Lufkin is transitioning its Adult Day Center to a day shelter for the homeless.
The Day Center provided daily care and social activities for seniors requiring extra assistance, but because of safety concerns with COVID-19, in April, programs for seniors at the day center were temporarily halted.
“Because of the high risk of those individuals, we had to get creative and look at how we can best serve the community still,” Salvation Army of Lufkin Captain Jenifer Phillips said. “So, what we’re looking at now is Homeless Day Shelter and Resource Center.”
Phillips said the facility reopened Monday and has already served around ten people. With the financial crisis caused by the pandemic, they expect more. She says their capacity is 35 people a day.
“When we look at people that are dealing with poverty and then taking an additional hit because of that, the natural progression of that, unfortunately, is to have an increase in the homeless population,” Phillips said.
With funding from the CARES act, the facility is now open weekdays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. There they offer education classes, financial planning and basic hygiene supplies.
“We have different amenities available like showers, a laundry facility, also just to be able to get out of the elements during the day and be able to rest and have safety,” Phillips said. “We serve two meals a day.”
She said the goal is for individuals to secure employment, housing, and become self-sufficient.
“We want to try to help as many people as possible,” Phillips said. “When they come in, we do an intake process, also so we have a referral point on where we can see where their needs are most.”
Shelter monitor Kenneth Hannah said the large facility will allow for them to adhere to CDC guidelines, including masks and sanitization.
“We’re hoping to spread them out a little bit, keep them safe and offer them some services if not some permanent housing options,” Hannah said.
Phillips says they are working with the alcohol and drug abuse council and Godtel ministries on this endeavor, and they hope more nonprofits will assist.
To volunteer or donate to the Salvation Army of Lufkin, click here.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the senior program was forced to temporarily close due to the significant concerns regarding client safety. The organization has reopened the facility this week to provide a safe place of rest, comfort and education for those experiencing homelessness. The goal is for individuals to secure employment, housing and ultimately become self-sufficient. They’re providing many resources and teaming up with other local nonprofits in this endeavor, while adhering to CDC guidelines and protocols.