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Salvation Army Center Helps Homeless Families Stay Together

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A homeless facility in the Uptown neighborhood is one of the few centers in Chicago that welcomes entire families.

Virginia Thompson and her two children fell on hard times last winter. Thompson got into a car accident that left her unable to work, and she soon faced eviction, with nowhere to go, so she turned to the Salvation Army for help.

"I've always been independent, do it yourself, helping others," she said.

Thompson and her son, Demetrius May, have lived at the Salvation Army's Evangeline Booth Lodge at 800 W. Lawrence Av. for seven months.

"I was very thankful, and very blessed," May said. "It was overwhelming. I was so glad. Me and my son, we were like, 'Yes, this is warm and safe.'"

Thompson said the lodge has been a "lifesaver" that helped her regenerate and regroup.


Evangeline Booth Lodge offers temporary housing for families who are down on their luck. The average stay can be six months or more, because of the limited availability of low-income housing in Chicago.

"This facility is truly a family facility, because we seek to keep the father in the family, and … the older teenage young men.," said training coordinator Pam Harrell.

Booth Lodge is a former hotel with 64 rooms. It also offers three meals a day, case management, and financial and career counseling to help families find permanent housing.

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