Compassion House coordinator Lynn Williams inspects one of the shelter’s bedrooms in preparation for its recent open house.
MARTIN COUNTY – The Salvation Army of Martin County recently invited area agencies to an open house of its Compassion House shelter. Over 30 visitors from 18 different service agencies toured the shelter to learn more about its programs and needs.
“We were very pleased with the turnout,” said Captain Christine Kim, officer for the Martin County Corps. “We work closely with many of these agencies already and it was nice to be able to show them our shelter first-hand.”
Compassion House is a transitional shelter for homeless women and women with children. More than just a place to spend the night, the shelter offers its residents programs and intensive counseling to help them gain the skills they need to be self-sufficient. They are given free shelter and meals while they work to obtain suitable employment, eventually saving enough of their income to move into stable housing. The needs of the residents vary greatly, and the staff at Compassion House works with and refers to many area agencies for help in meeting those needs.
“We hoped that having the service agencies come and tour the place would start them thinking about the ways they might be able to help our clients, and how we might be able to help theirs,” said Kim Johnson, Public Relations Coordinator for the Salvation Army. “There are so many needs – GED and occupational training, mental health counseling, parenting skills, job-seeking assistance, budgeting … the list goes on. Every woman has specific, individual needs and we work hard to plug them into the right resources. We try to teach them where they can turn if they need help after they leave Compassion House.”
The residents are generally out of the shelter during the workday, either working or looking for employment, and their children are in school or daycare. This allowed the Salvation Army to schedule the open house during a time when visitors could tour the shelter without disturbing the residents’ privacy.
“It worked out great,” said Johnson. “We were able to show two of the bedrooms without intruding on the privacy of the women or their children.”
The visitors seemed to appreciate the tour. “Great work! Very impressed. I learned a lot,” said one afterward. “Let’s keep in touch from time to time and share ideas and lessons learned.”
For more information about Compassion House or any of the other services offered by the Salvation Army, visit salvationarmyflorida.org/martincounty or call 772.288.1471.