by Zach Stone
No matter how long you have been homeless, or the reason for your homelessness, there are options. My experience at the Austin Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center has been great, and I recommend that any homeless man in Austin consider it before giving up on themselves.
The center is located at 4216 South Congress in south Austin. Their contact number is 512-447-2272.
In August of 2011, I wound up as a patient at the Austin State Hospital. Thirty six days later, I moved to a crisis center in Georgetown. Still unemployed and with no place to live, I had very little hope of reconstructing my life. My case worker suggested that I call the Salvation Army and speak to Claylia. I thought I was calling the shelter, but she told me about the six month program at the center. After six calls to her, she was able to get me in the program.
I was very apprehensive about going there, but the residence was much better than I expected. I was assigned to a five man room with a comfortable bed, a nightstand, and a locker. They even had storage for whatever I did not want to keep in my locker. Hot meals are served in a large dining room. There are hot showers and a laundry room. They sent me to the family store to get some more presentable clothes.
The second day there, I started in the work therapy program to get me used to working full time again. At night, I went to classes on addiction, recovery issues, relationships, and even how to look for employment. I had accepted Christ before I arrived, but my faith was very shaky. I went to Bible Study and to the Sunday church services. The chaplain began to help me with my struggles.
I took advantage of everything they offered me, including a small education grant so I could start attending outside classes. After graduation from the program, I started working in Celebrate Recovery programs at the ARC and in three outside churches. I began to look for work, and got assistance from DARS in the form of an outside job placement specialist to help me. While doing this, the Salvation Army offered me a job as the supervisor of their outbound call center, where I had worked for over seven months. I accepted their offer and still work there today.
The Salvation Army gave me the tools and the help to reconstruct my life. Now I am clean, sober, financially stable, and even very active in my church in east Austin. I am rebuilding many of the family relationships that I destroyed over the years of my depression and homelessness. I have become a devout Christian, and find that I can deal with all of life’s ups and downs without the stress I used to feel. I have regained the hope I thought I had lost.
It cannot hurt to call them up and find out what they have to offer you. If you put off changing your life, it will not get better. Make a positive decision for yourself today.
Did you enjoy this article? Want to read more like it? Great news! The latest issue of the Challenger Newspaper is available for download here. Or for a hard-copy version see our distributors map to locate a friendly Challenger distributor near you. Thank you for helping support our mission to end homelessness in Austin!