Formerly homeless, the woman is looking forward to her new apartment
Editor’s Note: In 2014, the News Tribune started a series called “A Christmas Wish”. The articles, published the week before Christmas, tell the stories of people whose lives have been influenced by United Way of Central Missouri’s partner agencies. The series ends on Christmas Eve.
Shirley Saville has lived at the Salvation Army Hope Center four times, but her last two month stay was different.
With a little help, Saville secured her first apartment in more than three years. She has no furniture, no appliances, and few personal items. Now she wonders what’s next?
Saville said the Salvation Army workers who work with her at the Center of Hope have been great role models who have provided tremendous help.
The Salvation Army’s Center of Hope is 31-bed accommodation for men, women and families. The center serves lunch and dinner daily to its residents and the community, and provides access to a pantry and social services.
Last year the site served more than 24,000 meals.
“The people who work here go on to help you,” said Saville. “They give you so many opportunities.”
Saville has been at the Center of Hope for two months, but it’s not her first time living at the shelter. She has been to the Center of Hope four additional times in the past.
She’s been homeless for three years, living mostly on her car – an old truck that she doesn’t expect to be on the market for long.
Saville, 59, traveled to Jefferson City from her son’s home in St. Louis this fall to seek help from the Center of Hope.
Since living at the shelter two months ago, Saville has received assistance in receiving her second government stimulus payment and a Section 8 apartment selection voucher.
The voucher allows Saville to move at the end of the year as it helps eligible users pay the rent to a private landlord. Vouchers are administered by the Jefferson City Housing Authority, which requires recipients to find a landlord who will accept them and pay the deposit when they move in.
On December 8, Saville said she believed she found her apartment after a landlord said he would accept the Section 8 apartment selection voucher.
“When it started going, I got blessing after blessing,” Saville said.
After looking at four other apartments, Saville is pretty sure she found the one.
She prepared to check out the property on West McCarty Street and fill out an application on December 8th.
“I feel really good,” she said. “And I’m so happy they gave me this chance.”
Because of her disability, Saville is inactive and relies on government support to earn an income. Staying at the Center of Hope enabled her to save enough money for the bail, she said.
The apartment will become vacant on January 1st, said Saville, and she’s ready to move.
This Christmas, Saville is asking for help filling up her apartment.
When she leaves, the Salvation Army will provide Saville with some donated pots and pans, a box of groceries, her bedding, and a voucher for the Salvation Army thrift stores.
She will currently move in with no furniture, appliances, dishes or decorations to make the apartment her own.
Saville said a bed and a TV and some cleaning supplies are her top priorities, but at some point she will need it all.
“I need everything for my apartment,” said Saville. “I have nothing – I lived in my truck. But I will gradually make it. “
Another wish is to see her family and 13 grandchildren for Christmas, Saville said, for which she will travel to Grandview. This year it will be Christmas at her eldest daughter’s house, she said.
Before leaving, she said she wanted her ducks lined up for the apartment.
With an apartment, said Saville, she wanted to go back to everyday life and take care of her medical needs.
In addition to being diabetic, Saville has a brain tumor.
Since she became homeless, she has neither the time nor the means to see a doctor on a regular basis.
“It’s really starting to affect me,” said Saville. “I throw things, my speech is not right and I sometimes think that I am not thinking right.”
Saville said she has postponed seeing the doctor for about two years, but she wants to make this a priority to move forward.
Saville’s tumor needs surgery, she said, so she’ll figure out how to tackle that once she’s settled in her apartment.
Saville is also interested in getting back to school online but said it would go further.
“It will change everything and my feelings,” said Saville.
How to donate
United Way has established an “A Christmas Wish” fund and donors can make a gift “on behalf” of a specific person or a United Way partner agency.
To be tax deductible, checks must be made out to United Way of Central Missouri and United Way must retain the right to determine who will benefit from the donation.
A voluntary committee monitors the distribution of the funds. To help fulfill a Christmas wish in mid-Missouri, mail checks to the United Way of Central Missouri, 205 Alameda Drive, Jefferson City Mo., 65109. “News Tribune Christmas Wish Fund” should check on the memo line of the.
Questions can be directed to Ann Bax, President of the United Way of Central Missouri, at 573-636-4100 or. be judged [email protected].
Also in this Christmas wish series:
A Christmas wish: the man’s wish is to visit his new grandson
A Christmas wish: Compass Health offers its customers a “village” of care
A Christmas wish: 4-year-old celebrates an adoption that has changed his life
The annual Christmas wish series highlights the work of the United Way agencies