Jesus is Calling - Living Room Project Proposal


“The Living Room” – Day Center Program Proposal  [ return to Home Jesus is Calling page ]

The Salvation Army – Majors Harry & Madelaine Dwier
April 2020
A. Mission Summary & Statement of Need

Within the City of Wooster, 16.0% of our residents are living in poverty (see attached United States Census Quick Facts). This percentage is higher than the County (12.9%), State (14%) and National (11.8%) rates (see attached Community Action “State of Poverty in Ohio” report). Within that 16.0%, numerous individuals will experience homelessness, and even some who are not considered to be living in poverty will experience homelessness. There are two homeless shelters in Wooster, The Salvation Army and OneEighty, with limited bed availability. Bed Utilization rates at both shelters have exceeded 100% over the past seven months.  The Salvation Army, along with partner agencies, has a significant concern for these homeless individuals during daytime hours. 

This would include:

  • Residents of The Salvation Army shelter because the shelter must close during daytime hours due to a lack of funding.
  • City residents who are “doubled-up” or couch surfing.  These individuals are residing in the homes of others and lack a fixed, regular or adequate residence.
  • Single Room Occupants who live in simple housing situations.  These units typically only have a private bedroom and share bathroom and kitchen facilities.
  • Those who are being released from incarceration and will have limited or no plans of where to go for housing, food and resources.

As a result of these rising community issues, many of our residents have nowhere to spend their day-time hours, and therefore, they do not have a safe place of belonging or community. There have been many meetings held over the past year with City and County officials and agencies, where the need for a daytime drop-in center and a central Membership of Wayne County Housing Coalition all agree that a centrally located hub where those experiencing homelessness or needing community resources/services can go would be a great asset to the City of Wooster.

Community agencies often come to know many of these residents through the day-to-day Social Service programs such as food pantries, housing providers, meal sites and other government offices providing benefits. The staff at each of these locations are wonderful about creating relationships with their clients, and those providers collectively see that a local drop-in center is an urgent need in our community. The Salvation Army has the space to be able to create a community drop-in center in our building, however, we lack a funding source that covers both the dedicated employee, overhead costs and the supplies it would take to run this initiative.

B. Mission Population

The target population for our daytime drop-in center, called The Living Room, would be those in our community who are experiencing homelessness, along with those who need and/or want a safe and welcoming place of community during the daytime hours. Our annual homeless counts have shown a dramatic increase in homelessness over the past five years (56 homeless persons reported in 2016’s Point-In-Time Count; 121 homeless persons reported in 2020’s Point-In-Time Count).  Through the Living Room, we will provide these families and individuals with a safe and free space to relax and engage in some simple entertainment they may not be able to afford otherwise.  There will also be the ability to connect with services and resources they may be eligible for. The only criteria for attendees would be that those under the age of 18 would have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The main service provided is simply having an inviting space for our residents to spend their time. This will occur in a large room at The Salvation Army which also houses the daily lunch meal program.  The Salvation Army will also invite other local agencies to present their services to our clients within that space. This could include social service agencies, health care providers, life-skills teachers and short demonstrations on topics such as nutrition, exercise, budgeting, etc.

C. Mission Outcomes

Assessments conducted throughout our community have highlighted a significant number of individuals with either unstable or no housing. Additionally, surveys completed by homeless citizens sheltered at The Salvation Army and others that attend the breakfast program have indicated a need for mental health services, addiction services, employment/job skills training, life skills and facilities for laundry, showering and bathrooms. Review and combination of these needs has resulted in the proposal for a day center program in Wayne County, The Living Room, located at The Salvation Army in Wooster. A Salvation Army staff member will be assigned as Program Director to manage the area utilized for the Living Room, supported by existing Employees and volunteers of The Salvation Army.  Partnerships with local agencies will provide the necessary programming listed above.

Programming to be offered at the The Living Room will include mental health and addiction services through partnerships with local agencies such as AnaZao Community Partners (ACP), OneEighty, and The Counseling Center (TCC). One barrier to accessing services in our rural community is transportation. Many of our behavioral health agencies are not located in downtown Wooster, which makes them difficult to access for populations that do not have transportation, are unable to afford public transportation or are unable to walk the geographical distance. Centralizing access to these services downtown where other social service agencies are located will relieve some burden experienced by citizens in need of multiple services. The Living Room stakeholders would also seek partnerships with TCC’s Employment Program, Goodwill Industries and Job & Family Services to aid citizens utilizing The Living Room in building a resume, soft skills, interview skills and applying for job opportunities. The Salvation Army will have showers, restrooms and laundry facilities available to the The Living Room attendees during the hours of operation, 10:00am – 3:00pm every Monday through Friday. The Living Room will provide 5 open hours for community members in need of a daytime space.

Success will be measured by the following measurements:

  1. Number of individuals engaging in utilization of The Living Room on a daily, weekly and monthly basis (track trends).
  2. Number of individuals involved in programmatic services (mental health, addiction, job training, etc.)
  3. Number of individuals that obtain a job with assistance through The Living Room.
  4. Number of individuals that have obtained housing since utilizing The Living Room.
                  ** Additional tracking of number of these individuals that have retained housing for 3 months or more.
  5. Growth of in-kind agency contributions from initial opening to end of year.
  6. Number of individuals engaging in utilization of The Living Room on a daily, weekly and monthly basis (track trends).
The Living Room will serve the following purposes:
  • Provide a safe place for community members to escape the elements
  • Provide a place for community members to maintain their hygiene
  • Provide a central location for community members to access community services to assist them in achieving a sense of overall well-being.

The overall well-being will be self-determined and vary among our participants. Service providers will be available daily to engage citizens in programming which will enable them to manage their behavioral health, complete job applications and interviews, and navigate the local social service system. Although not yet implemented, discussions are being held with the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Wayne and Holmes Counties to explore opportunities to provide a part-time community outreach/navigator position that would be available at the Day Center.  This individual would assist with linkage to appropriate services during hardships such as housing needs, food insecurity and other psychosocial concerns/barriers are currently in effect.

D.    Mission Assumptions & Justifications

The reason The Salvation Army is beginning The Living Room is because there are no places of intentional community and stability during the daytime hours for residents who are experiencing homelessness, living in doubled-up situations or single-occupancy rooms, or living below the poverty line to spend their time and find information about resources available to them. Through the Case Management component, The Salvation Army will be able to intentionally point clients in the direction of resources tailored to their individual needs.  The result will be The Salvation Army and its partners walking with this needy population through what can be a long and tedious process to achieving complete self-sufficiency.

Staff Requirements

Program Director - This full-time person is responsible to enforce rules, oversee general participation, keep accurate statistics, and to keep The Living Room in order at all times. This person will work directly with clients to help them access resources and track progress toward self-sufficiency.

This individual will be supported by existing Salvation Army staff members who will continue to be funded through The Salvation Army.  This includes the Shelter Case Manager, cook and janitor, as well as volunteers.

Volunteers from the The Salvation Army and community will be invited to help as needed and make relationships with all in attendance. The Salvation Army will also be inviting community resource representatives to have resource tables or make presentations about their services.

Start-Up Schedule

The Salvation Army is currently in the process of seeking funding for this program.  Application has been made for funding through Wayne County Community Foundation’s Give 365 grant opportunity in February 2020.   Through this proposal, The Salvation Army is also asking for funding through the City of Wooster.

In addition to securing funding, The Salvation Army is also scheduled for significant renovations on the laundry facility in the shelter. These laundry facilities will be available to The Living Room guests as well.

With those items considered, we plan to have The Living Room fully operational by September 2020.

E. Budget

The Salvation Army is requesting a three-year commitment from the City of Wooster in the amount of $46,500 for the first year (and increasing to $47,500 and $48,500 in years 2 and 3.)  The Salvation Army has also applied for funding through a GIVE 365 grant.  Local donations will also be sought for this program. The Give 365 grant is for one year only, so in subsequent years, The Salvation Army will attempt to obtain an ongoing grant from Wayne County Community Foundation and/or United Way for a portion of the costs.  The Salvation Army will take responsibility for this fund-raising.

Proposed Three Year Budget

Income Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Wooster City Subsidy 26,500 27,500 28,500
Wayne County Subsidy 20,000 20,000 20,000
GIVE 3yl5 Grant 15,000 --- ---
Other Grants --- TBD TBD
Local Donations 1,000 2,000 2.000
Salvatin Army Support 15,600 16,600 17,600
TOTAL $78,100 $81,100 $84,100
Program Director 38,000 39,000 40,000
Occupancy Costs 23,000 24,000 25,000
Program Supplies 1,500 1,500 1,500
*TSA - Additional Staff Costs 15,600 16,600 17,600
TOTAL $78,100 $81,100 $84,100

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