How Your Donations Help Those Experiencing Homelessness

Ross and his dog, Sassy

Now more than ever, people are facing new financial challenges and frightening realities. In fact, The Salvation Army across Canada has seen the number of people needing support skyrocket almost five times in some locations over the last year. And people listing homelessness as their reason for visits has doubled since 2019.

“I went to the front door of The Salvation Army shelter and rang the bell,” says Ross, 78. “When they answered I wasn’t even sure what I was doing there. I had never been homeless.”

Ross had lived in the same apartment for 20 years when he was invited to move in with his sister. Both were widowed and on fixed incomes. It seemed like a good plan. But a few months after Ross moved in, his sister had a heart attack and never recovered.

“I had never been homeless”

“New owners of the house raised the rent and I simply couldn’t afford it,” says Ross. “When I tried to find a place to live, landlords didn’t want to rent, fearful that people couldn’t pay their bills due to the pandemic. And rental units that were available were too expensive. I had no place to go.”

Ross found refuge in a hotel. But knew he couldn’t afford to stay for long.

“When I learned The Salvation Army in Campbell River, B.C., was pet-friendly I was incredibly relieved,” says Ross. “Sassy was my only source of companionship and comfort at that point in my life.”

“The Army tells me, ‘don’t worry’, and I don’t”

The shelter provided Ross with good food and a warm place to sleep. He was grateful for COVID-19 safety protocols that were in place and staff who truly cared about his well-being. After three months in the shelter he moved into Kathy’s Place, the Army’s transitional housing program.

Across Canada, The Salvation Army has an increasing number of transitional housing units that offer a safe, supportive and semi-independent environment where people can rebuild their lives and make the transition from homelessness and marginalization to stable housing and meaningful engagement with the community.

“The Army tells me, ‘don’t worry’, and I don’t,” says Ross. “I don’t know where I would be without them.”

An estimated 150,000 Canadians sleep in shelters, on the streets or in temporary accommodations. As we enter the Christmas season, their scene is not so festive. When you donate to The Salvation Army you can be their hope for a better tomorrow.

By Linda Leigh