At a time when social service programs are as busy as ever, the Salvation Army in Muskogee is closing down part of its operation.
The News on 6's Rick Wells went to Muskogee and found the Salvation Army is closing its shelter because it costs too much.
â€œYour total will be $12.28." Amy Robinson manages the Salvation Army thrift store at 615 South Main in Muskogee. She says it's the end of the month, and theyâ€™re not as busy as usual. But the Thrift Store generates some revenue and so it's one of the Muskogee programs that will stay open. So will the assistance program.
People needing help with utility bills will still be able to get it, but Major William McClure says the dormitory area will close. "Once the end of Sunday comes this door will be shut and locked." They hope to someday re-open it, but folks who have sought temporary shelter at the Salvation Army will have to look somewhere else.
There were about a dozen people staying at the dormitory at the beginning of the week and he says they are trying to find somewhere else for them to stay.
"To adequately run the program it costs $9,000 a month, with what we have we can subsidize about half that." The result is over that past several months they've had to borrow money to pay bills and the debt is now around $100,000.
They exist on contributions from the United Way and private sources, but donations have fallen off and so they can't do as much as they used to. They are hoping for a quick turn around, in the meantime, they've got to cut some programs.
Most of the Salvation Army's programs in Muskogee will continue. Currently they serve a hot meal seven evenings a week. Major McClure says that program may have to be cut back to Monday through Friday only, but that decision hasn't been made yet.