The ministry leader for the Camas-Washougal Salvation Army says the organization expects to increase its social service offerings in the Camas-Washougal community once the Salvation Army’s new structures are in place.
“With the new building, we are anticipating an immediate 30-percent increase in services offered from this location,” said Pastor Samantha Wheeler, who celebrated with a crowd of about 50 people Tuesday during a groundbreaking ceremony at the Salvation Army’s (soon-to-be) new and improved site.
Shortly after the ceremony, demolition crews tore down the old Salvation Army office building at 1612 “I” St. The demolished building was a house that has had issues with flooding. The Salvation Army has moved modular units from Bellevue, Washington, and Wheeler expects they will be in place and ready for use later this summer.
The local Salvation Army site provides food, clothing, utilities and rehabilitation services to more than 400 people each week.
The site’s “blessing room,” where people in need come to pick up free clothing and household items, is temporarily closed during the expansion project. In the past, clients have had to wait outside while they are standing in line, waiting to use the “blessing room,” but the expanded space will include a waiting area.
Future plans also include the addition of hot meals and a hygiene center with a shower. Other goals include expansion of a work space with high-speed internet and more space for counseling services, such as the Celebrate Recovery program, which helps people with food addictions, codependency, abuse or family issues.
The cost of the demolition, site preparation for improved street access and the remodel of five previously owned modular units, is close to $1 million. Funding has been provided by the Salvation Army divisional headquarters in Seattle as well as a building reserve fund for The Salvation Army of Clark County. This includes donations from local residents. CIDA Architects and Yorke & Curtis Construction have assisted with the project.