Home Sweet Home - The Salvation Army working in Gwinnett
By Beth Volpert

Courage in the face of hunger, fear of sleeping in your car and the very thought of possibly placing your children in an insecure situation is not something most people think about on a daily basis, but for too many, it is a reality. Homelessness is not defined by any one word. It is complex and can take place for any socioeconomic status in the blink of a pink slip. With a society living paycheck to paycheck, regardless of income, homelessness is a state that can occur within a very short amount of time. Courage in the face of fear is a start. Finding help is the next step. The Salvation Army’s Home Sweet Home program is a compassionate place to start. 

It takes a certain amount of courage to tell your story to the world. For Erin Arrington, telling her story means that maybe one more single mom, who thinks she is out of options, will ask for the help that is available from the Salvation Army’s Home Sweet Home Program. “I had a part-time job,” says Ms. Arrington. “It wasn’t enough to pay for our mortgage.” As a translator for the Boys and Girls Club, Ms. Arrington has a fulfilling job that she feels certain is giving her the skills and opportunity to increase her work hours. Furthering her education to meet her family’s needs is just as important to her as setting a good example for her children. “I want them to see that you have to be financially stable and make a good living,” she says. “I don’t want them to have to go through what I went through. 

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Ms. Arrington and several women she has met through the program take a financial class each Wednesday and support one another by studying and getting their children together at a local park. “These women are so strong,” says Arrington. “Getting together has taught us that we are not alone in our situation; it can happen to anyone, at any time.” 

AndyMiller SalvationarmyCaptain Andy Miller of the Lawrenceville Salvation Army agrees. “A financial crisis can happen at any time,” says Miller. “People don’t often reach out until they are at their lowest point.” Captain Miller says that housing needs can range from a couple of nights to several months by the Home Sweet Home program. “We have emergency and transitional programs that help keep families where they need to be.” Where they need to be is within their own community and with some hard work, they can often remain in their own neighborhood or school district. “A child with a safe place to sleep is very important,” says Miller. “Human trafficking and child abuse can occur anywhere, but depending on others to house your children leaves them vulnerable.” 

Home Sweet Home Client Services… • Immediate shelter in an apartment supplied with basic necessities • Hot meals, non-perishable food, grocery vouchers • Bus coupons, gas cards, van transportation • Emergency clothing & toiletry kits • Professional assistance with plans to enable families to overcome barriers to economic self-sufficiency • Job skills, financial education, life skills and mentoring programs • Scholarships to The Salvation Army Camps, Music & Performing Arts Conservatory, after school care and a variety of other programs

For more information visit http://www.salvationarmy-georgia.org/