Salvation Army Says Homelessness is "Staggering" in Hill City

Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg's Salvation Army says homelessness in Lynchburg is at an all-time high. Their shelter is at capacity. And they say others are, too. Directors with Lynchburg's Salvation Army say they have not seen the need this high since their new building opened three years ago. They say the problem is alarming, and something needs to be done.

"I passed by this building a lot of times and never would I have thought that I would have been in here. Never." said Nancy, who is homeless.

The face of homelessness is changing in our area.

"I just wasn't one of those people," said Nancy.

Meet Nancy. She is homeless at age 50. For most of her life, she lived in a state of ego. But this new experience she is living is causing her see things in a different light.

"Everytime I think that my story is so tragic, I meet somebody else," said Nancy. "Everytime I complain about not having no shoes, I meet the person with no feet."

Her story is real, raw and captivating. And lots of people are living a similar story every day.

"We are seeing a sweltering number with the individuals that are needing shelter," said Salvation Army Captain Donald Dohmann. Dohmann calls the numbers staggering.

"There hasn't been a slowdown period," said Dohmann.

The shelter has 83 beds. With a few opening up here and there. But it is just not enough.

"As of right now, not only are we at capacity with only five beds open, Hand Up Lodge is also full," said Dohmann.

Dohmann says he does not believe the Government shutdown has much, if anything to do with this. He says most of their clients just cannot find work. Clients, like Nancy; she is doing everything she can to get back on her feet.

"I didn't see homelessness like I see it now in the Salvation Army," said Nancy.

Dohmann says they will find a way to accommodate people, especially as we head into the colder months. He says the Salvation Army will pull out cots if they need to. They are asking for your help. They say they are in need of towels, laundry detergent, coffee and breakfast food. You can drop those items off during regular business hours.

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