Salvation Village addresses homelessness in Southern California with pallet homes

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The Salvation Village, a brand-new “tiny home” facility able to house 75 homeless individuals in Harbor City, California, has opened its doors. 

Run by The Salvation Army with support from the City of Los Angeles, LA Harbor College and Pallet Shelter, the cleverly-designed individual houses are intended to be a first step toward helping clients find their forever homes. 

While each tiny house accommodates one person – with 25 houses set aside for Harbor College students – there are communal facilities for laundry and pets. The Salvation Army also has caseworkers and social workers available on site to help clients with essential life skills.

At the opening ceremony, California South Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel John Chamness reflected, “Last night, after a long day of work, I got in my car and drove home to my house and opened that front door and walked in. I had dinner with my beautiful wife and some friends. And then I was able to lie down in a nice bed with a pillow and enjoy a great night of sleep.”

He continued, “For 66,000 of our Angelenos each night, they don’t get that opportunity to go home to a place that is safe and secure – a place they can call home. Today, I’m happy to say that with Councilman Joe Buscaino and The Salvation Army, we’re able to provide 75 homes, 75 beds, [and] 75 pillows. Where every night, our friends that are currently living on the street have a place they can call home – [The] Salvation Village.”

The Salvation Village is the thirteenth shelter operated by The Salvation Army in Southern California, offering a total of 5,375 beds per night. Venues range from booked hotel rooms and emergency shelters to rental assistance programs, former motels and special purpose-built facilities. 

The vital nature of this work in helping homeless people back to safety and restoring dignity is evidenced in Justin’s story. He explains, “Back in April 2020 I became homeless. I was working full time, but because of [the] coronavirus the company shut down…I was moving from hotel room to hotel room [and] had nowhere to go. I was on the train and ended up at LA Union Station. There, I met workers from PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) and they offered me emergency shelter.”

In time, Justin – who is also a cancer survivor – transferred to The Salvation Army’s Bell Shelter. Based eight miles south-east of the railway station, the Bell Shelter is a comprehensive program that offers interim housing with supportive services for up to 500 people who are experiencing homelessness. The shelter offers individualized care, including therapy, mental health services, library and computer access and assistance with vocational training and job referrals. The dedicated staff seek to address the underlying issues that contributed to each client becoming homeless. 

Justin concludes, “They assigned Xavier as my case manager. I was able to continue working and save money. Xavier has been a tremendous case manager…I now have a home where I can invite my daughter to visit me.”

Do Good:

  • See how The Salvation Army fights homelessness.
  • You’ve probably seen the red kettles and thrift stores, and while we’re rightfully well known for both…The Salvation Army is so much more than red kettles and thrift stores. So who are we? What do we do? Where? Right this way for Salvation Army 101.
  • You can make an impact in the Fight for Good with whatever time and skills you have. Whatever your interest, there is a you-sized need for goodness in the world. Get the guide on How To Be An Impactful Volunteer and get in the Fight for Good today.
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