Houston Salvation Army closes due COVID-19 and financial issues

HOUSTON, Miss. (WCBI) – After nearly 20 years of helping area residents with food, clothing, and other social services, the Salvation Army Center in Houston has closed its doors.

“When we lose something like that, it’s a major impact in terms of what do we do to try and help and assist where we can,” said Houston Mayor Stacey Parker.

Salvation Army announced the closing Thursday and said the reason is because of COVID-19 and financial struggles.

“It still goes without saying that there is enough need in the area and I think that’s been proven in the past that the Salvation Army in Chickasaw County located here in Houston,” said Parker.

Parker says those same needs that brought the Salvation Army to the area have only been magnified during the pandemic.

“People out of work or can’t work, unable to get to work,” he said. “Of course, we’re trying to make that comeback into it but you never know what’s around the corner.”

The Salvation Army says they will now serve Chickasaw and Calhoun counties from their Pontotoc location. But Parker said those in rural areas don’t always have the option of just going somewhere else.

“Not if they don’t have transportation,” he reminded. “It may be hard enough to get inside the city of Houston with the Salvation Army.”

While he is disappointed, Parker says he understands the financial impact the pandemic has had on all businesses, including non-profits like the Salvation Army.

“It is a business,” he said. “A non-profit business so it’s got to be profitable enough to keep things going.”

Parker says the city’s churches have been important resources for those in need and will now be relied upon even more.

“You got that volunteerism that’s got a passion for it and assisting those that are in need,” he said.

The mayor says the city is offering as much help as they can but that they currently do not have the resources to set up a potential shelter.

“It takes money and what money we got we’re trying to put back into the community to try and help the quality of life,” Parker said. “Which will hopefully assist those along the way.”

The Salvation Army Center in Pontotoc is located at 303 West Reynolds Street.

Click here for more information on that location. 

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