House of Hope Center celebrates one-year of serving homeless in Cambridge, eyes set on growth and collaboration
CAMBRIDGE, Md.- “We want to give them the safe, stable, and structured life that they deserve. We all deserve that,” Walker said.
2,305. That’s number of individuals either at risk of or currently facing homeless in Cambridge that The Salvation Army’s House of Hope Day Services Center has served in just one year.
Commanding Officer Captain Wendy Parsons says they’re fulfilling a growing need by providing day services for that population who typically have nowhere to go once overnight shelters close.
“It really came to light during COVID when other places were shut down such as the library or some of the local restaurants where they’d go and sit for a couple of hours. There was no place for these folks to go,” Captain Parsons said.
“Sometimes people stay away because there’s still stigma attached to needing or wanting help. But not here, we want to serve,” Salvation Army’s Residential Programs Manager Shane Walker said.
Friday, the organization celebrated the milestone with an open house revealing a new sign honoring donors William and Carolyn Tyler. “I grew up in the Salvation Army when I was a young girl, so I know what they do and I’ve always been a part of it,” Honoree Carolyn Tyler said.
A grab-and-go food supply, bathroom facilities, and a computer lab are just some of the amenities the center provides. “The hope is that if someone gets a shower, has a clean load of laundry, or something to eat that’s going to affect how they walk out into the community,” Walker said.
“I see it in the successes of individuals who come in and take the referrals to the job centers and housing connections. They get the job or the house. They secure it and they maintain it.”
Captain Parsons says the concern of housing insecurity only continues growing in the area, which is why they’re not only taking this moment to celebrate but plan for the future. “Some government funding is changing, some laws are changing, and people are finding themselves kind of in a squeeze. If they can come here and get answers, absolutely that’s what we want to do,” Captain Parsons said.
As for the future, The Salvation Army tells us collaboration is their focus. They’re seeking more partnerships with other community organizations to expand the programming they offer.
The Salvation Army says much of that community support has come from food donations by several local restaurants and convenience stores.
It’s also important to note that the center is just one service The Salvation Army offers. They also have a shelter open daily for anyone in need.