Salvation Army Safe-Harbor shelter provides hope to Twin Cities homeless

Local News

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — As part of a larger campaign, WMBD/WYZZ is highlighting all the good the Salvation Army does in our communities of Peoria and Bloomington-Normal.

In Bloomington, Salvation Army’s Safe Harbor shelter provides a place of hope to get people down on their luck, back on their feet.

Safe Harbor provides permanent and temporary shelter, food and puts people in line with employers.

“Once somebody checks into the shelter, they have access to a case manager. We have case managers here to help folks develop life skills [and] understand and accomplish their goals,” said Joanna Callahan, the social service director at Bloomington’s Salvation Army.

Callahan said it’s a come-as-you-are type of service. All anyone needs is to pass a “low-grade” background check, be vaccinated against COVID, or provide a negative test.

“We intentionally designed our program to be that way. There are a lot of people that kind of fall through the cracks at other programs,” Callahan said.

Eric Tweeten said the program has changed his outlook on life.

“It really was a turning point for me. I’d been homeless for a whole decade,” Tweeten said.

Tweeten now works and lives on his own after living in the shelter for about six months.

“I just really made a healthy connection with my caseworker and with some of the staff members,” Tweeten said.

Chad Schleder currently lives in the shelter after living on the street. He said the shelter’s case managers helped him get employed after being turned away and not having internet access to apply online.

“I didn’t really have an online presence because I’d been away from that. I didn’t have my own computer or anything like that,” Schelder said.

Safe Harbor averages about 90-100 residents in a non-COVID year. Callahan said right now they’re limiting the amount of full-time residents to about 50 people.

The Salvation Army says without donations, they wouldn’t be able to provide the extent of services to this amount of people.

To donate, head over to their website or give in-person at a red kettle near you.

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