Salvation Army programs in Kalamazoo County.

Residents of Kalamazoo County that are out of options can call upon the Salvation Army. The faith based organization and its case managers will try to find a solution to the hardship being faced. The goal is to help them make it through the crisis period while at the same time direct the person to more long term support services.

Whether it is a box of free food or emergency housing, there are services available. Money to help pay bills is very limited, but this sometimes too can be provided. In these cases, a referral is needed from the Department of Human Services (DHS) in Michigan.

Also, donations collected across Kalamazoo from the Red Kettle are used to provide Christmas assistance as well as free back to school supplies for low income families. A thrift store on site also helps fund the social services.

Kalamazoo County Salvation Army housing needs are met by emergency shelters and transitional housing. Guests of the units are given other help as well. The main components are below.

-Shelter is for short term needs, usually a night or two. But it can also support women or children impacted by domestic violence.
-Transitional housing will provide the individual more time to regain stability. Small monthly rent fees may be due.

In either cases, the housing programs will also allow the person to participate in Case Management, or Pathways of Hope. This includes Support Groups, Job Training, Budgeting Classes, Legal Aid, and more. Referrals are also given by the Salvation Army so the family can find a permanent home or apartment to live in somewhere in the Kalamazoo region.

The guidance that is part of Case Management is critical to helping the family gain stability. This process is even used for non-housing issues as well. Staff will try to understand the barrier the client is faced with, and then help them overcome it.




The service is known as Pathway of Hope. As part of the counseling process, a plan will be created by the Kalamazoo County Salvation Army case manager. Whether it is budgeting, employment, or some other need, the crisis will be tackled.

Thrift, or what is now commonly known as family stores, are open to the public. They will sell low price, gently used clothing. Other items may be books, games, and school supplies. The goal of this Salvation Army service is to help families, in particular those with a low income, save money on basic needs.

Personal hygiene items can also be provided by the Salvation Army thrift store. Whether someone needs to look more presentable for a job interview or they were formerly homeless, there may be diapers for a baby, deodorant, wipes, and more. The use of these items will also help build confidence of clients.

The free holiday programs include Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. Using money and goods donated from the Red Kettle and other sources, Kalamazoo County Salvation Army works to spread the joy. Hundreds of families and children enroll each year.

Clothes, toys, games for children, and occasional vouchers for stores are passed out by the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army partners with other churches and businesses in the region to offer this service.

Residents facing a short term crisis can apply for emergency financial aid. They need to have a DHS referral and be out of all other options. The main office, which is at 1700 S. Burdick St., is where appointments can be made. Applicants will need to have proof of income and why they are facing a hardship.

When funding allows, there may be money for rent to stop an eviction or other housing costs, such as utility bills or a security deposit. Mortgage assistance from the Kalamazoo Salvation Army is rare, but it may be an option. Much of the funding is from partners such as the United Way or from fund raisers held in the community.




Disaster assistance is a core Salvation Army service. Emergency needs such as food and water are passed out. Also, people impacted can be placed into short term housing indicated above. The Salvation Army of Kalamazoo County also just provides the applicant with someone to talk to during that time-frame.

For more information on the services or referrals, the Salvation Army of Kalamazoo is based at 1700 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo Michigan 49001-2714. The main number is 269-344-6119.


By Jon McNamara

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