The only family shelter in Mobile County is having success helping families get on their feet. It’s the Salvation Army’s Family Haven located on Boykin Boulevard. It’s been open less than a year. Already, seventy -five percent of the families who moved in, have been able to move out into permanent housing. Director Carl McNatt says “The fact is, we are here to help them, not here to do things for them. We are trying to empower them, not create dependency while they are here.” Social workers spend time helping families find employment, child care, and permanent housing. So far, of the forty-four families who have stayed at the shelter since October, thirty-three have found permanent housing.
One of those people is Inez Johnson. Johnson lived at the shelter with her new baby and nine-year-old daughter earlier this year. She had been staying with a relative, but the relative was evicted and she didn’t have anywhere to turn. She came to the Family Haven. She describes the place as a “blessing.” She is a nursing assistant, and just needed a temporary place to stay until she could get back to work after maternity leave. She says, “It gave me peace of mind that me and my children had a roof over my head.” Thanks to the Salvation Army’s Family Haven, Johnson now is renting her own home in Mobile and can pay her own bills.
Currently, the Family Haven shelter is full. There are 15 families staying there at the present time, and there is a waiting list of another 15 families.