Shelter from the storm

Hospitality House opens its doors in San Bernardino.

Advisory board member Carl Dameron (left) speaks with Salvation Army Divisional Music Director Steve Yalden and his daughter Sophia in the new kitchen of the Hositality House emergency family shelter in San Bernardino, Calif. [Photo by Chris Sloan]

Approximately 200 elected officials, volunteers and Salvation Army officers united in celebration on Jan. 15, 2010, when the San Bernardino, Calif., corps officially opened its extensively remodeled Hospitality House.

“These walls have seen a lot of good things happen,” Mayor Patrick Morris said. “Now the building is launching a new career. It will be a source of hope for those people who need a second chance in life.”

The facility has quite a history. Originally housing a fire station in the 1940-50s, the property was purchased by The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in 1976 to treat men fighting drug and alcohol addictions. In 2008, the ARC moved to a new location, leaving its former building vacant.

Using funds received from the California Department of Transportation after its eminent domain acquisition of the property that previously held the Hospitality House, the San Bernardino Corps purchased the property from the ARC in 2009 and began renovation.

The shelter offers 21 private rooms, nine bathrooms, two laundry rooms, a living and dining room, a kitchen and private offices where residents can be counseled one-on-one. A computer lab and a library/education center are designed for children. A San Bernardino City Unifed School District tutoring program already in place will move here with the families; the computers and collection of children’s books and educational videos will provide enhanced learning opportunities.

“The fact that we are standing here today is because of a mighty act of God,” Captain Stephen Ball said.

About 80 homeless people—mostly women and children—were moved to the new building on Feb. 1.

“We want to help those who seek shelter and the chance for a new start in life, Captain Nancy Ball said.

The newly dedicated house still needs bedding items. To obtain these, the Army has partnered with Target in providing a registry for Hospitality House. At a Target store, just ask for List ID 012018800000074. You can donate online at, “Salvation Army Hospitality House Homeless Shelter,” where you can find the current needs.

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