For those families facing a temporary hardship, the Salvation Army is a leading non-profit to call for help and referrals. Several assistance programs are available for residents of Etowah and nearby counties. While resources are very limited, individuals can get assistance with needs such as food, housing, shelter, rent, and more.
Supporting and addressing Emergency Needs is a priority. Many residents of Alabama, including those in the immediate areas of Etowah and Marshall, are struggling, mostly due to the weak economy. Thousands more local families live on minimum wage jobs or fixed incomes. They struggle with, and sometimes fail, to keep up with the rising costs of paying their utility bills, food, gasoline, rent, clothing, and other expenses. So if you are facing a short term challenge, and have a long term solution in place, then the Salvation Army may have some funding for that period of time in which you need assistance.
The social services and financial aid is for those people that are experiencing emergencies and temporary setbacks. For example, programs may help families and prevent them from having an interruption in utility services, in may offer them the opportunity to maintain ownership of their homes, and provide free food and/or gently used clothing to their families and children. The four main centers in the region are as follows:
Housing programs include shelters, case management, emergency rent assistance and Transitional Housing Units. Among other things, these resources provide intensive case management, shelter, food, and more to homeless families and people facing imminent eviction.
Some of these services include an initial assessment and assistance establishing goals, job placement, referrals for education, vocational opportunities, budgeting workshops and skills, and more. Also work with case managers on locating decent, affordable housing in areas such as Gadsden or Blount County. It is a Salvation Army goal to help the family or individual make a smooth transition from homelessness to long term, affordable and permanent housing.
The shelters and transition units can allow people to stay for around four to six months if needed. This is offered while they make needed changes to increase their income, improve their credit and locate long term housing. To use these services clients will need to meet with a Salvation Army social worker on a weekly basis to ensure that progress is being made towards achieving the goals.
A similar resource is the Emergency Homeless Shelter. This is more for very short term stays, such as a night or two. The Salvation Army offers a safe and clean shelter, warm nutritious meals, referrals for health, mental health, counseling, and vocational rehabilitation and substance abuse services.
Resources for holiday assistance include the Angel Tree Program. This program provides qualified families from Etowah and Blount with new toys, clothing, gifts, and holiday cheer. It relies on donations and volunteers from the community. Those that participate will need to remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase those gifts or toys for the child or children described on the Angel Tree tags.
Companies and individuals are always needed to help keep this annual program running. The sponsoring organization or businesses will also serve as a collection point for the gifts. The sites can also provide secure storage until a volunteer or staff member from The Salvation Army can collect the gifts for distribution along with food and meals to help needy families in Alabama enjoy the holiday season.
The Salvation Army can provide assistance and social services to Etowah County, including Gadsden. Other resources are available for the cities of Guntersville and Oneonta in the counties of Marshall and Blount respectively.
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