Program to Help Families Stay Afloat Could be Gone by Next Month

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - They're one step closer to being homeless. Stimulus money used by the Salvation Army to keep Midland families afloat is drying up.

For Shanna Sturgis, the Salvation Army's Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program was a life saver.

"If this program wouldn't have helped me get on my feet I don't know where I would be," Sturgis said. "I don't know if I would have a home over my head. I don't know if I would have a smile on my face. I don't know if I would be patient and be motivated to do better for myself. I think I'd be quite the opposite of all of that."

In less than a year, the program has helped more than 200 families make rent and stay in their homes.

"It helped people who were laid off from their jobs, people who had a medical emergency, any type of funeral expenses if they had any," Ilda Rodriguez with the Salvation Army, said. "I did see some on fixed income mostly the elderly.

Last November, Sturgis lost her job and almost her home until the Salvation Army stepped in.

"Shanna was one of those that really inspired all of us," Rodriguez said.

But after next month, there won't be anymore stories like hers.

When the Salvation Army first received the money last September, they thought the program had enough money to help people for 2 years, but since so many folks needed help, the more than $400,000 and the program, will be gone by next month.

"The grant that was given to us was just a one time deal," Rodriguez said.

"I feel bad for those out there who maybe weren't able to benefit from the program or maybe the program couldn't benefit them," Sturgis said. "Either way, I think it's a tragedy."

The group is looking into ways to keep the program, but until then, other organizations will have to pick up the slack.