Inmates build new beds for shelter


Photo by The Salvation Army Salem Lighthouse Shelter

The Salvation Army Lighthouse Shelter in Salem, Ore., will soon be able to serve its maximum number of 83 individuals.

After closing for renovations in summer 2013, it reopened in January but couldn’t operate at capacity because the donated beds’ top bunks couldn’t handle an adult’s weight.

The Salvation Army looked for a local partner to help solve the problem.

“When I contacted Brad Atkins with Oregon Corrections Enterprises [a work program for inmates] I immediately knew this is who we wanted building our beds,” said Melissa Baurer, director of social services for The Salvation Army in Salem. “They understood the need for heavy duty, quality, long-lasting beds.”

Inmates are building new bunk beds that they plan to deliver and set up this summer.

“Their hard work is benefiting one of the most vulnerable populations, the homeless,” Baurer said. “At the same time they are benefiting by learning skills that will allow them to transition from prison to our community with valuable experience needed to find work and have stability–something our residents are striving toward.”

Donations covered half the $55,000 cost; the remainder came from the Army’s general fund.

The Army will donate the lighter-weight bunk beds to programs serving local youth.

Since 1966, The Lighthouse Shelter has provided the community with six-month temporary housing for individuals, rescuing them from homelessness and offering them the opportunity to get back on their feet.


Read more about this story here.

A former client of the Lighthouse Shelter tells his story here.

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