Salvation Army Shelter Provides Lifeline for Client Experiencing Homelessness

Portrait of James at Centre of Hope

Throughout his life, James Booth felt like his family was against him. In recent years, their betrayal left him homeless.

James’ family was part of a cult. As he was the only family member who was not involved in this, he would be frequently spiritually targeted. Despite their differences, James put his life on hold to move in with his parents and care for them as they were dealing with health issues.

At the time, James was running a home renovation business. Dropping everything for his parents’ well-being was a risky move, but he felt it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. His parents moved away unexpectedly, stole his identity and an inheritance that was rightfully meant for him, leaving him without a home.

“I couldn’t believe that a place like this existed.”

“My family moved my parents out of the apartment and left me for dead in 2021. I stayed in the stairwell of the building because my parents threw everything I had away—my tax papers, my clothes, my life. They threw everything in the garbage,” James said.

During this period, James was on a path to recovery from alcoholism and attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. A lady he encountered at one of his sessions recommended he go to The Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope in Winnipeg.

“I couldn’t believe that a place like this existed,” James said.

 A New Beginning

James has been living at the Centre of Hope ever since. Throughout his stay, he has strengthened his faith, received food assistance and his caseworkers have helped him deal with the legalities of regaining his identity. He also continues his journey to stay sober.

“My experience has been spiritually fantastic. It’s a great place to learn and grow,” James shared. “I have a lot of support. Anytime that I have issues, caseworkers are always there. They have a good supportive staff.”

Every week, James attends Bible study. He says his faith has motivated him to stay positive and look forward to what is next. To make the best use of his time at the shelter, James is part of the Centre of Hope’s choir. He also enjoys spending time in the library to enlighten his mind.

“If it wasn’t for a few good people in here that had faith in me, it would have been a tough go.”

As James slowly heals from the trauma caused by his family’s betrayal, he realizes that without The Salvation Army’s help, he might have not been here to share his story.

“I could honestly say I would probably be dead. Nobody believed my story and if it wasn’t for a few good people in here that had faith in me, it would have been a tough go. That’s for sure,” he said.

Future Plans

Due to the complexity of his situation, James can’t leave the shelter for the time being. With The Salvation Army’s help, he is trying to restart his life.

James plans to revive his business once he has the financial means to leave the Centre of Hope. He also intends to participate in church outreach to assist people in the community.

By Juan Romero