Cabarrus County and Kannapolis City Schools have over 500 homeless children, plus their parents. The kids go to our schools, and many of the adults work full time (at very low wages). Their needs are often unseen by most of our community.

In downtown Concord, one can also often see men and women at the library or on the streets who appear to have no home. All our hearts go out to all of them.

We want to give a dollar, but wonder if that is the right way to help? How can we help in ways that truly serve these neighbors?

The answer: The new Salvation Army Center of Hope.

The best way to assist our homeless neighbors is through our local Salvation Army’s church, an independent, nonprofit organization. In a previous column in The Independent Tribune, I described the Salvation Army as a church.

But the organization also has a separate, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that meets community needs. Having this structure allows it to receive tax-deductible contributions from people and also funds from corporate and government organizations. These monies do not support the church, but their social services.

The only homeless shelter for children and adults in Cabarrus County is at our own Salvation Army.

Now the Salvation Army is laying the groundwork to build a new facility where children, parents and adults can share a hot meal and have a warm bed. In addition, there will be space to provide a full range of services to our homeless neighbors.

The Salvation Army now needs our help, your help.

The Center for Hope

The organization and its friends are building a 16,000-square-foot facility. The facility will more than double its current capacity and add new services.

Families will have six suites, with four people in each. Plus, there will be housing for 18 single women and 19 single men. Even more so, there will be 62 emergency beds for cold nights and other crises.

Finally, there will also be more room for social services, physical and mental health clinic, increased security, larger bath and laundry facilities and a commercial kitchen.

The cost: $7 million

The Center of Hope has raised over $4 million from private donors. The Salvation Army now needs our businesses, agencies, churches, and citizens at large to raise additional funds to complete the task.

The leaders

Over 50 local leaders from every facet of our community created the vision for the new facility. The planning study evaluated every aspect of our community’s needs in a 50-page report. Land adjacent to the Salvation Army’s current home was purchased and zoning approved.

Now, hundreds of other local leaders are assisting with the fundraising.

The Center of Hope is truly a cooperative mission of our entire county.

An extension of ministry

“Our Center of Hope shelter exists to be an extension of the services provided by churches and other organizations in this community. The Salvation Army is a safety net for our most vulnerable men, women and children, and we rely on our partners in ministry for continued support. One hundred percent of funds raised in the Picture Hope Campaign go to the building and furnishing of the new Center of Hope Shelter,” said Lt. Joshua Keaton, commanding officer of The Salvation Army of Stanly and Cabarrus counties.

Local support

Carolyn Tucker, a local philanthropist and project advisory board member, wrote: “Our guidelines for giving are simple, ‘Love God and Love Your Neighbor.’ The Salvation Army does both. As most of us have a safe and comfortable place to rest, we must be mindful that our neighbor may be hungry and without shelter.”

Breaking ground summer 2020

If all goes well and everyone supports this plan, ground will be broken within months. Local architect Ken Griffin has designed a beautiful, functional and cost-effective facility.

Contribute

Please help. You can give online at www.picturehopecampaign.org.

Technically and legally, you are not giving to The Salvation Army church, but to its independent corporation for social good. Gifts are tax deductible.

You can send a check to 216 Patterson Ave. SE, Concord, NC 28025. A campaign brochure and commitment card can be sent to you by calling 704-782-7822

This effort to house the homeless should receive support from everyone in our faith communities and beyond.

Andy Langford is a member of the Concord City Council. He is the former pastor at Central United Methodist Church and has been visiting many local congregations to discover the richness of Cabarrus County’s places of faith.

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