A lot of people have misconceptions about homelessness. Words such as “lazy” and “careless” come to mind. Many people that come through our shelter and seek out help don’t fall into these categories. Most cases of homelessness are caused by life events such as a death or medical illness. They find themselves in this situation scared and alone, but that’s where The Salvation Army can help.
Debra Roland went through several medical traumas before coming to The Salvation Army, each being triggered by a loss of a loved one, including her son and her sister. These episodes sometimes turned violent, not only to other people, but to herself as well. In August of 2018, she was admitted to Vantage Point. “There’s a lot I don’t remember,” Roland said. “It’s blank. I turned into a different person and that’s not who I want to be.” Later in November, she was released and taken to The Salvation Army Shelter in Fayetteville. She was given a bed upon arrival and later was connected to social services where she met Dawn, her caseworker. “Being homeless is scary,” Roland added. “I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
Housing is hard to come by in the NWA area. The wait list is anywhere between 9 months to 2 years so other areas were sought out such as Berryville and Eureka Springs. Debra Roland filled out multiple documents and wait list applications with her caseworker. “It was psychologically exhausting,” Roland said.
Finally, she got the message she was eagerly waiting for. A hotel in Eureka Springs gave her a room and was moved in early March. Roland is still on a waiting list for her own place, but this hotel room serves as secure housing during the interim. She now has reestablished her disability, is interviewing for jobs and has connected with locals in the community, even having Rumi game nights.
“I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I can finally sleep knowing I’m on the right track.” Roland said. “My experience with The Salvation Army was positive. They helped me get back on my feet and I’m so grateful.”