WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) - The final touches are being put on The Salvation Army's family shelter in Waterbury. The old building is getting a much-needed face-lift to the tune of $300,000 and the community has stepped up to pay for nearly all of it.
Genie Tortice said she knows what it's like to be homeless. "It taught me how to grow," Tortice said. "It taught me how to love the tough love from within."
With five children to care for, she said she found a safe place to stay at The Salvation Army. “Their doors are open, you got counselors that will listen to you [who] help you with housing," she said.
The family shelter meant they didn't have to split up. "The rooms are all basically the same," Tortice said. It sleeps upwards of nine families with 30 beds. “Families are a particular concern because you do want to keep the family intact," said Major Steve Carroll, Waterbury Salvation Army Corps Officer. "You don’t want to split mom and dad up and the kids. It’s very traumatic.”
Most families stay at the shelter for about 90 days. The organization said 85 percent are placed into permanent housing when they leave. "We’re very proud of it," Carroll said.The Salvation Army said it is also proud of the renovation work being done.
There will be a resource room and computers that parents and children can use. There will also be new bathrooms, a fresh paint job for the rooms and new furniture. It's all being paid for through donations. "We want to make it as bright and clean and cheerful and nice as possible," Carroll said. Because Carroll said the more comfortable people feel there, the more energy they can put toward moving on.
He said the organization has plenty of success stories. “They helped us get back on our feet," Tortice said. "We found a place a couple weeks later and ever since then, I’ve been connected to The Salvation Army.”