Salvation Army should give homeless shelter funds to help community


To the editor:

Congratulations to the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness. Intuitively, the community knows there are homeless people in Shelby County. It appears the homeless do not want to be encumbered by rules and regulations of warming centers. I want to give a special thank you to Mayor Mike Barhorst and Scott Barr, who have spent considerable amount of time on the subject.

However, the task force should have had two objectives. The first objective has been concluded with the discontinuation of the task force. The second objective should be to have the Salvation Army return the balance of funds raised in the early 1990s donated by the generous people of Shelby County.

Mayor Barhorst wrote a comprehensive article Jan. 2017 describing the situation: Attacking Homelessness in Sidney and Shelby County.

“When the campaign ended in May 1991, the campaign had raised $1.5M, falling short of the goal of $1.9M. At the outset of the campaign, the Salvation Army had indicated that they would use the proceeds to build a larger kitchen, a day care center, and an emergency shelter for the homeless.

Following the campaign, the kitchen at the Salvation Army’s Buckeye Avenue headquarters was enlarged. Although no longer used, the daycare center was also constructed.

Now, nearly a quarter century later, the residual campaign funds remain on deposit in New York. It is those funds that were to have been used to establish an emergency shelter for the homeless. The funds were never used for that purpose. It is those very funds that have long been a bone of contention with administrators of local social service agencies who attempt to serve those who may have benefited from the shelter. Those funds have also been a cause of frustration for donors to the campaign as well as former Salvation Army board members.”

It is my understanding that there is still $400,000-plus in a Salvation Army account designated for a homeless shelter in Shelby County. It is my belief that money raised in this community should be spent in this community. I recommend the Salvation Army give the remaining funds to the Shelby County United Way, which would distribute the funds to the many organizations in our community that help the needy.

Robert Baird

Sidney