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Q & A: An inside look into the Salvation Army Harbor House

Thursday, June 19, 2008 | 11:17 p.m. CDT; updated 11:53 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Salvation Army Harbor House, located at 602 N. Ann St., has remained a mystery to residents since the business moved there in 2002. The Harbor House is the only homeless shelter in Boone County that houses men, women and families. Harbor House director Jim Chapman and his wife, Cindy, who is the development director, would like to connect with residents any way they can, so they answered common questions residents might have and offered more insight into what goes on in the house.

Inside: The Salvation Army Harbor House

Q: What is the Harbor House?

A: A homeless shelter that houses men, women and families. It is the only one in Boone County to house families. It has 61 beds, and when it reaches maximum capacity, it refers people to other homeless shelters in Columbia and surrounding areas.

Q: When was it established, and what is its mission?

A: The Harbor House has been in its location at 602 N. Ann St. since 2002. It is a universal Christian church, so the mission is to spread the Gospel and help the poor and the needy.

Q: How is the Harbor House funded?

A: Most of its funding comes from the Salvation Army. Other funding come from the United Way, the Missouri Emergency Shelter Grant and donations from the public and those who leave money to the Harbor House after they die. There is also a program service fee, which comes from 10 percent of a Harbor House resident’s earned or unearned income. This shows residents that living independently requires financial obligations and sends the message that the 10 percent given to the Harbor House supports and helps the community continue to help residents.

Q: What programs does the Harbor House offer to residents to help them get back on their feet?

A: It offers a recovery program, a working program, an emergency housing program and a transitional housing program.

  • Recovery Program: People who are in active alcohol or drug recovery can be assigned to the recovery program. The program requires the residents to attend recovery meetings each week.
  • Working Program: This program offers an opportunity to those who are physically capable of working and those who are not. If residents are physically able to work and do not have a job, the program requires them to apply for a minimum of four jobs per day. If residents are physically or mentally incapable of working, the program requires them to volunteer a minimum of 20 hours per week for a not-for-profit organization.
  • Emergency Housing: Residents who have not saved enough to move out of the Harbor House or who are not ready to move out can spend 30 days in emergency housing.
  • Transitional Housing: After 30 days of being in emergency housing, residents go to transitional housing, where they are assigned a case manager. The case manager’s job is to get the residents’ information and see what they need to resolve any problems, eventually helping them move toward ending homelessness.

Q: Can anyone who needs help or a place to stay come to the Harbor House?

A: No; registered sex offenders, for example, are not allowed in. Residents are required to submit to a screening process, which is done over the phone, before acceptance and are urged to call the Harbor House for further information.

Q: On average, how long do residents stay?

A: Two to four months, sometimes four to six months.

Q: How long are residents allowed to stay?

A: Two years.

Q: What happens to people when they leave the Harbor House?

A: After a couple of months of receiving assistance, people usually find a job, begin saving money and move out with the resources they need to pay rent, feed themselves and pay bills. However, the Harbor House cannot force residents to help themselves; they must want to help themselves and become independent.


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