Homeless vs. The Salvation Army

There is some support, but a lot of questions about the service for the homeless that's been headquartered in this house for the past two years.

Its aim is to help people find work and get off the street. It's been administered both by the Parkersburg Area Coalition for the Homeless and the Salvation Army, but come spring, the Salvation Army itself will oversee it.

"I don't see anybody that's got help from (the Salvation Army)," says Mike VanFossen, a homeless person. "They say they do, but where are they."

The Salvation Army couldn't disagree more. If anything, says it's director, services will be expanded.

"I don't think it's as successful as we would have liked it to be," says Major Walter Strong of the Parkersburg Salvation Army. "And this is going to give us more oversight from the Army's standpoint."

The Army says the house where the program has been housed has become too expensive to run, but advocates for the homeless say the answer lies in building a new house.

"I believe these people want to do something to help people," says former homeless person Kathy Welch, who is now an advocate, "and we can build a new House to Home on 610 Market Street."

The Salvation Army is to begin exclusively overseeing the program April 1. This issue involves only the job placement service for the homeless, not the Salvation Army's homeless shelter itself.


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