Amount of families at Salvation Army triple

Increase putting strain on diapers, hygiene products at San Antonio shelter


SAN ANTONIO - The Salvation Army emergency shelter just north of downtown San Antonio is housing three times as many “intact families” than it usually sees at any given time.

The Salvation Army refers to “intact families” as a legally married man and woman with children.

There are currently 10 families staying at the shelter. It normally houses 2 to 3 at any given time.

The Salvation Army says it is the only local shelter that will allow entire families to stay together in its emergency shelter rather than splitting them up according to gender.

For the Harris family, the latter simply was not an option.

“You’re worried about your future, but when your family is together it makes everything easier,” said Kerry Delpit, who is staying at the shelter with her husband, Michael Harris, and their two daughters.

Michael says their livelihood unraveled when after he underwent bypass surgery.

“The bypass, what I had, I feel bad I had it,” said Michael, “because we were doing good.”

Both Michael and Kerry are college graduates who had steady jobs. They say they are the “new face” of homelessness.

“You think you go to a shelter and see people who are uneducated,” said Kerry. “But that’s just not true. You have people like myself and my husband, who are professionals with families.”

But knowing they could come to The Salvation Army and stay together as a family, they say, is what gets them through.

The emergency shelter is currently over capacity, so shelter employees have made room for families to stay in areas typically used for longer-term shelter.

There are 77 adults and 65 children staying at The Salvation Army when its emergency shelter only has 65 beds.

The shelter is also bringing in more tables to fill its already packed cafeteria so that families can continue to eat meals together.

"The Salvation Army strongly believes in keeping families together,” said program manager, Roxanne Coronado, “And if we're going to keep them together, we need to do everything we can. And that's what we're fighting for.”

 Meanwhile, the Harris family fights for their future as a family of four.

"Everything we do, we do together,” said Michael.

For a list of recent stories Myra Arthur has done, click here.


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