Christ salvation

Harrisonburg Salvation Army reopens emergency shelter

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – The Salvation Army of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County held a ribbon cutting Thursday for the long-awaited reopening of its emergency shelter. The shelter had been closed since March following allegations of mismanagement.

The reopening of the shelter comes at a time of great need, as the city’s homeless currently have nowhere to go at night. Over the past six months, the shelter has been renovated, staff have been hired and it is expected to open its doors to guests on Friday.

“The upstairs men’s bathroom has been completely redone, two bathrooms downstairs and the disabled rooms have been completely redone. The whole building has been walked through and painted, holes patched, lights fixed, just a good time of general cleaning,” said Harrisonburg Salvation Army Capt. Duane Burleigh.

Captain Burleigh said that over the past six months hiring staff for the shelter has been the top priority.

“We have renewed our workforce. We have a shelter manager in place. We have hired three new refuge monitors. We could probably use a few more, but we’re good to go. We now have enough staff to do it and do it right and make sure we are helping people,” he said.

New staff at the shelter have also been trained to be able to handle client cases.

“To make sure they improve their condition. We are not here just to house them, we want to help them and give them a helping hand,” Burleigh said.

The refuge will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily and will be able to accommodate up to 38 people. Burleigh said the shelter does not have the financial resources to be open 24/7, but hopes it will in the future.

“I look forward to allowing people to return to the shelter and to be able to help them. It’s in my heart, it’s in my mind, it’s in my soul, it’s helping the homeless and getting them out of homelessness and getting them to a better place for them and their families,” Burleigh said.

Burleigh said he hopes the shelter will serve as a beacon for the city’s homeless.

“A beacon saved my life when I was heading in the wrong direction and I thought that Jesus was a light and that was a beacon. I want to offer this same beacon to people who come into the refuge now , we want to be a shining beacon to say come to our safe harbor and let us help you,” he said.