Community Impact: Salvation Army of Lawrenceville
More than 26,300 families and individuals were evicted from their homes in Gwinnett County in 2012, according to Salvation Army of Lawrenceville Major Gift Manager Michelle Watkins. To meet as much of that need as they could, the local Salvation Army, assisted 598 households with rental and mortgage assistance in the fiscal year 2014.
“Families and individuals come to our community center experiencing significant trauma from having lost all of their belongings thrown out in an eviction or foreclosure and having been reduced to spending nights behind abandoned buildings, in cars,” says Watkins. “Many exhibit signs of clinical depression, anxiety and PTSD as a result of these experiences.”
The Salvation Army’s Financial Emergency Services (FES) program offers immediate financial and food pantry assistance to stabilize families in crisis. To prevent homelessness, the program provides rental assistance for those behind on payments and facing eviction, financial assistance for those facing foreclosure, and professional social work, consultation, prayer and pastoral counseling for any who request services.
Almost every year since it was formed in 2005, the Jackson EMC Foundation has granted the Salvation Army of Lawrenceville funds for rental and/or mortgage assistance.
“Funds provided by the Jackson EMC Foundation are essential to assist families in crisis,” says Watkins. “We continue to see more requests for assistance each year. Without the generosity of the Jackson EMC Foundation, there is a greater probability that families will be displaced from stable housing.”
The goal is to keep those suffering financial crisis in their homes. Typical clients range from low wage earners with scant savings who lost employment to those overwhelmed by high costs from an unexpected illness or injury, according to Watkins.
“Everyone needs a little help sometimes,” says Salvation Army Social Services Director Debbie Wengrow. “Foreclosures put a drag on the whole community, while keeping people in their homes helps keep the whole community going. Help from the Jackson EMC Foundation helps keep families afloat.”
In 2016, the Salvation Army celebrates 150 years of international service in 126 countries.
“We’ve been helping families stay in their homes for 150 years,” Wengow said. “It’s a blessing to have great partners like the Jackson EMC Foundation who make it possible to do it properly and efficiently.”
Jackson EMC awarded its first grant to the Salvation Army of Lawrenceville in June 2006 for $15,000. To date, the foundation has granted $110,000 to help keep families in their homes. To learn more, visit www.uss.salvationarmy.org.