The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 2, 2014

Salvation Army sees huge increase in shelter services

ENID, Okla. — Enid has seen a lot of growth in the past year, but not all of it is reason for celebration.

Last year, Enid Salvation Army saw a more than 200 percent increase in shelter services, providing more than 5,700 nights of stay.

“We’ve seen a great increase the past year, a 260 percent increase in our shelters,” Capt. Ernest Hull said. “Some of that was due to the harsh winter, the cold night stays. There were several nights we filled up and had to put out several more cots.”

Hull said in 2013, 5,756 nights of stay were provided to 205 men, 101 women and 75 families.

Salvation Army is having an open house 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 14 at 516 N. Independence, one of the shelters. The open house is a chance for the public to learn about the shelters that fill a vital role in the community.

“It’s to invite the public in to see our facilities, hear a little bit more about our shelters and our dream for a program we’re offering to our residents to get them back on their feet,” the captain said.

He said the shelters are in need of renovation to provide a more comfortable place for people in need to stay.

“They’ve been well used over the years and they’ve had a lot of people in and out over the years,” Hull said the shelters. “They haven’t had the input to keep them up.”

He said the goal of the open house was to raise awareness about the need for the shelters and raise money for their repair.

“We hope to do some remodeling to make the place more comfortable for our guests and increase the program we have for our residents,” he said.

Hull said the Salvation Army also wants to raise funds to help people who have successfully completed a program through the organization and found homes for themselves.

“They go out with a brand new bed, a dresser, linens and their first food order for their new home to give them that little bit of a security blanket,” he said.

The items also are meant as a “thank you” for successfully completing the program. Hull said the program “turns a homeless individual into a neighbor once again.”

Housing is available for 18 men, eight women and four families, for a total of 45 people.

“We recently had a family of five who stayed with us,” Hull said. “That’s heartbreaking to have a mom and four kids stay. We want to make their stay as comfortable as possible and that’s why the remodel is so needed.”

The house used as the Salvation Army’s family shelter has a place in Enid history — it housed the city’s first hospital.

“It’s unique that the building is still being used to help folks in need,” Hull said.

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