The Salvation Army is putting $155 million toward long term hurricane recovery in South Mississippi. That announcement on Wednesday marks the shift in the organization's focus from immediate storm relief to helping build for the future.
Salvation Army leaders say they intend to be good stewards of the money entrusted to them by those who've donated to help hurricane victims. To really make a difference for the people of South Mississippi, the Salvation Army is enlisting other experts in helping like Habitat for Humanity.
It is one relief organization building a new relationship with another. The bunkers going up in Biloxi on Salvation Army property will house people from around the country eager to come to Mississippi and work for Habitat For Humanity.
Kent Adcock with Habitat for Humanity said, "We have a database of 30,000 volunteers who've already gone on our web site and said when the opportunity is right and you've got the houses ready to build then let us know and we're going to come down and help rebuild."
The Salvation Army was trying to figure out how to best spend millions of donated dollars when a meeting with Habitat For Humanity changed everything.
"They were saying that the difference between their resources and home ownership for somebody was about $10,000," said Major Dalton Cunningham. "We thought wouldn't it be wonderful then if instead of us trying to rebuild someone's entire home, partner with Habitat For Humanity and bring the money along side that people have given us for restoring people's lives."
The Salvation Army started a $10 million homeowner grant program for Mississippi and Louisiana residents that Habitat officials believe will help people who have fallen through the cracks.
"Primarily it will help those who the CDBG funds will not address the need," said Adcock. "People who lost their home due to being renters have no safety net. They have no support system and this will help people qualify and move them from being renters into home ownership."
Both groups believe together they can do more.
Major Cunningham said, "It just forges a great partnership that allows donations to go so much further and serve so many more people effectively and well."
Grant recipients must meet the guidelines set by Habitat for Humanity. You can get an application from one of the local Salvation Army chapters.
The Salvation Army also plans to fund construction, job training and volunteer programs.