Media Release

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma

Doing the most good

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
XXXCommunity Relations/Development Director The Salvation Army Oklahoma City Metro Area Command 405-246-1125 405-808-8725

FROM HOMELESS TO HOPEFUL Salvation Army Family Shelter helps woman find courage, self-confidence to succeed

When Nell finally left her husband, her self-esteem was in shambles. Like many divorces, this one was nasty and hurtful. Even worse, Nell realized how unprepared she was to be on her own, especially with her children. Even simple things like knowing when to get an oil change was a mystery to her --- her husband had always handled that. “I felt like I was nothing,” she said. “I had no faith in myself. I had nothing.” After staying with one relative or another, Nell found herself at The Salvation Army Oklahoma City Metropolitan Command. “I’ve had women tell me that this was a good place to come, that it was safe,” said Nell. “When I first arrived, I felt welcomed immediately. Everyone here was so open and warm to me. I knew I was in the right place.” In her few months at The Salvation Army Oklahoma City shelter, Nell said her life has been a journey of transformation. She returned to school at Vatterott College to study medical terminology. Besides earning straight As, she is now a candidate for the National Honor Society. More so, Nell said her self-esteem is no longer in tatters. “I got back my confidence here. I got back the hope,” Nell said. “I thank God every day for the Salvation Army, because I wouldn’t have been able to come this far without them.”

Every day, women from all walks of life turn to The Salvation Army Oklahoma City when life becomes desperate. Myrtle, another divorcee’, spent almost five months in the shelter, spending Christmas with her two children in the shelter. “It was amazing,” Myrtle said. “I cried when I thought my children wouldn’t have Christmas, but, oh my God, what they received was a blessing.” Myrtle has received a blessing herself. Now employed, she is working to get a home for her family. “My children, they can’t stop talking about our new house,” she said. “I’m excited because they are excited. They like it (in the shelter), but we’re going to have a home of our own.”

Nationwide, homelessness continues to be a problem. Consider:

In January 2005, an estimated 744,313 people experienced homelessness. 56 percent of homeless people counted were living in shelters and transitional housing and, shockingly, 44 percent were unsheltered. 59 percent of homeless people counted were single adults and 41 percent were persons living in families. In total, 98,452 homeless families were counted. *23 percent of homeless people were reported as chronically homeless, which, according to HUD’s definition, means that they are homeless for long periods or repeatedly and have a disability.

In Oklahoma, the National Alliance to End Homelessness reported 4,869 homeless persons in the state, or .14 percent of the population. The Salvation Army Oklahoma City Area Command is active in addressing the issue of homelessness in Oklahoma City. Besides offering basic needs like food and shelter, the Salvation Army has programs in place to assist in job placement, transitional housing and other ways to combat the hopelessness of being homeless. March is International Women’s Month. The Media is invited to visit our Family Shelter and speak with the two women highlighted. We can arrange a time for both to be present, offer our experts for in-depth insight into women issues and offer plenty of visual for your needs. If interested, contact XXXX, public relations director, at 246-1125.

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About The Salvation Army The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 126 years in the United States. Over 31 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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