Somewhere to call home

by Captain Kristina Sjögren

Over the past decade the dream of Salvation Army staff and officers in Dane County, Wis., has been to build a structure that provides permanent supportive housing for those in the community who have experienced homelessness and/or have struggled to find affordable housing. Thanks to dedicated staff, community supporters, the Dane County Advisory Board and The Alexander Company, that dream became a reality this spring as a 44-unit apartment building, The Shield, welcomed its first tenants to their new home.

For many of us, walking into a newly constructed building may seem familiar. We have been fortunate to walk into a new space. We’ve seen and smelled fresh paint, carpet and polished floors. For others, the concept may be foreign and can even be overwhelming.

On move-in day, one extremely excited woman and her friend, who was helping her move in, were trying to identify the smell in the hallway. Overhearing them musing that it smelled like a shoe or department store, I interjected, “That’s what new smells like!” What an amazing opportunity to be a part of someone’s life as they venture into new experiences and the blessing of calling a brand-new place home.

“With the lack of affordable housing in our community and the rising number of people experiencing homelessness, we knew we needed to do something,” said Melissa Sorensen, Dane County executive director of social services. “Our goal was to provide quality, affordable housing to people, giving them the dignity and respect that they deserve. I am really excited to be a part of such a beautiful building that people can call home.”

The Shield Apartments is the first phase of a new larger complex that also will include the corps community center, a shelter and Dane County Administrative Offices, and will provide a campus approach to ministry in Madison. We give God the glory.

Captains Mike and Kristina Sjögren, Dane County Area coordinator and director of programs, Susie Bell (Alexander Company), Majors Andrew and Melissa Shiels who began the project, Jason Ballweg (Miron Construction), and Erik Blank (Miron Construction)

 

 

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