Salvation Army in Macon, Georgia expands veterans program
Grand Macon’s Salvation Army helps serve the veteran population of Central Georgia by increasing the services provided through its Veterans Program.
Services offered currently include placement, reception of the homeless, clinical advice and additional services as needed. The program started in conjunction with Veterans Affairs in Dublin in January.
The facility, located on Broadway, currently has 126 beds. 20 beds are dedicated to veterans in the Peyton-Anderson Men’s Residence, but the Salvation Army is looking to increase that number to 40. Because they can only service veterans they can house, double the number beds will double the number of veterans treated.
The whole facility is very large, with a fully functional kitchen serving approximately 60 people three square meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a community laundry and they have a vehicle donated by GEICO to transport veterans to appointments.
Grand Macon’s Salvation Army development director PJ Sardoma said the expansion responds to the growing problem of homelessness among veterans.
“These are men who have served our country, sacrificed so much for us, and we have an opportunity to express our gratitude by offering services that are currently unavailable in the region,” Sardoma said.
The expansion of the Veterans Program is funded by grants and donations.
Homeless veterans make up 8% of the total homeless population in the United States, Sardoma said. Other issues veterans face include post-traumatic stress disorder experienced by six-year U.S. Army veteran Hubert Lipscomb.
Since coming to the Salvation Army premises, Lipscomb said his quality of life has improved due to the services he receives. He was previously homeless after experiencing PTSD, struggles with gang members in his neighborhood and other violence in his community.
“In that darkness, the Salvation Army was that light to me,” Lipscomb said.
Tony Saxton, an 18-month veteran of the United States Air Force, also shows great appreciation for the veterans program staff and services.
“It was a godsend,” Saxton said.
More veterans like Saxton and Lipscomb will continue to be helped through expanded services. Maj. Andrew Gilliam, area commander of the Grand Macon Salvation Army, said the project stemmed from a study of how best to serve the central Georgia region. The organization has seen that one of the greatest needs is help for veterans.
“The ultimate goal is to help veterans in any way possible,” Gilliam said.
The Salvation Army Veterans Program welcomes all veterans who need help and hopes it will be a place where they can get the support they need.
“If you’re a veterinarian and need help, we’re here for you,” said Terence Thompson, Veterans Case Manager.
According to a press release, the Salvation Army of Grand Macon will begin its phased work therapy and recovery program to meet the greater needs that veterans in the community face when returning to civilian life. .
Grand Macon’s Salvation Army has served central Georgia for 120 years. To learn more about the Veterans Program, visit their website.
This story was originally published June 26, 2019 06:00.