In a move predicated by community need and organizational growth, we are expanding our programming and relocating the SaltLight Center and administrative offices.
“This expansion gives us the opportunity to better serve the growing homeless population of Gwinnett County and puts us in a position to achieve our future growth goals,” said Matt Elder, Executive Director.
The administrative offices will move to 205 S. Culver Street in downtown Lawrenceville on July 22. These offices will function as our center of operations. “Being in the heart of Lawrenceville, where we have some of the greatest need, is imperative for us. We have had amazing support from both the city and county, and we are excited to be located in an area central to them both.”
In Gwinnett County, 114,000 people live below the poverty line, and about 20 percent of that total are under age 18, Matt said. “People are living paycheck to paycheck, and they are one bill or missed paycheck away from being homelessness. We are expanding our services to care for the thousands of people who are already homeless in Gwinnett County and to prepare to help those who may find themselves homeless in the future.”
The SaltLight Center is the only emergency shelter in Gwinnett County. It is moving to an undisclosed location and will expand from 11 to 15 beds. “The new shelter will provide guests a private, safe, and secure place to stay temporarily,” Matt said. “It allows them to deal with their situation with dignity and respect.”
We are also expanding our emergency services to provide options for two-parent families and single men. The SaltLight Center serves only women and children. “It is important to us to offer emergency services for homeless men and fathers in the community,” Matt said.
In addition, we are adding a new component to the homeless recovery program. While the program has seen great success in providing an ideal situation for guests to put money into savings, many of its graduates still face a challenging rental market. The current median rent in Gwinnett County is $1,043 per month, which is not affordable for families who have experienced such a severe setback that they have become homeless. Consequently, we are beginning a rental assistance program to provide short-term subsidies to help graduate families transition to their own housing.
So far this year, the SaltLight Center has served 148 women and 86 children, while 16 families consisting of 18 adults and 24 children have been part of the homeless recovery program.
We are one of more than 200 affiliates of the national Family Promise network.