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MONEY MAY: Salvation Army helping Southeast Texans burdened by overdue bills

According to 2020 survey done by the United States Census Bureau, about 14% of Texans live in poverty.

BEAUMONT, Texas — An initiative launched by a well-known Southeast Texas organization is helping community members who are going through challenges and personal hardships. 

The thought of bills piling up coupled with a decline in income can be overwhelming, but there is help for Southeast Texans. The Salvation Army is working to help community members who are burdened by overdue bills.

The organization used available funding to create a new initiative to help the community with rent, utility bills and even shelter. The initiative was launched in February and is called Love Beyond Late Bills.

Captain Jason Moore said as long as the need is there, the Salvation Army will help Southeast Texans get back on their feet.

“It's just about letting people know that we're here for you,” Capt. Moore said. “We know that the bills are mounting, and we know that people are trying to figure out, 'okay, which bills do I pay?' Which has priority? And so we try to help with that. We know that people need a place to live, so we can help with rental assistance. And then we take that out of the equation.”

According to 2020 survey done by the United States Census Bureau, about 14% of Texans live in poverty. About 13% live at the poverty level in the U.S.

Program recipients are praising the initiative.

"I needed a place to stay and they helped me out,” Tiffany Orlando, shelter resident, said.

Orlando said she is thankful that she is not swamped with bills, but she does need rental assistance.

“I’m going to stay at the shelter for now, but when they get their funds in, they will help me pay for the deposit and maybe the first month's rent,” Orlando said.

Latoya Haskins is living at the shelter until her assistance comes in.

“That was exciting,” Haskins said. “It was exciting. I ended up staying two weeks, and when I stayed two weeks, they gave me the application. I filled out the application. I was approved, and I found my house. They paid the first month's rent, and I found a three-bedroom house.”

Officials are encouraging members of the community who need assistance concerning bills and rent to go the Salvation Army. 

“Come see me," Elizabeth Rodriguez, case worker, said.  "I love you, You're my brother and sister in Christ, and you know, we're here to help you in whatever it is you might need. If not, we can try and find you what help that you might need.”

To learn more about life beyond bills or to apply for assistance, Southeast Texans can visit an are Salvation Army to set up a time with a caseworker.

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