Free Furniture Helps People Who Were Homeless Turn Housing into Homes

Free furniture helps people who were homeless
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For people experiencing homelessness, moving into a place with four walls and a roof over their heads is life-changing. But shelter alone doesn’t make a home, and The Salvation Army in Lethbridge, Alta., is providing them with furniture and all the essentials needed for setting up a new place of residence.

In partnership with the City of Lethbridge’s Housing First Initiative, The Salvation Army’s “Just Like Home” program started in 2013. Since then, furniture and other items have been distributed to 225 families and individuals.

“The furniture bank isn’t an upgrading program,” says Jade Webb, program coordinator. “It’s for people who have nothing—who are transitioning out of homelessness and into permanent housing.”

In The Salvation Army’s 3,000 square foot warehouse, individuals choose free items such as couches, beds, tables and chairs, linens, dishes and small kitchen appliances. Then The Salvation Army delivers them to their new home.

“Reactions to receiving the furniture can differ,” says Webb. “Some people struggle to select items because, in their mind, they feel they aren’t worthy. Others are at a loss for words when they learn they don’t have to pay for anything and the delivery is free of charge. Others can’t believe the furniture is theirs to keep.”

Beneficiaries come from a variety of populations. From youth to seniors to First Nations to newcomers, all are anxious to exchange worthlessness, distress and homelessness for dignity, comfort and safety.

“The furniture bank is one way to help people transition to independence and stabilize their lives,” says Webb. “When you donate furniture or household goods, you give them new life in the home of someone in need. You give me a couch, I give away a couch. It’s as simple as that.”