Pushing forward

Salvation Army still looking for grant money for basic needs center.

The Bremerton Salvation Army is still looking to make Sally’s Place a reality.

Maj. Jim Baker, corps officer with the Bremerton Salvation Army, said he is still on the hunt for grant money to build and operate a basic needs center in downtown Bremerton.

“We’ve been working on this project about three years,” Baker said. “We held off on applying for grants until we were absolutely certain we could get it done.”

The basic needs center will be located in an old building on Sixth Street adjacent to the Salvation Army. Baker said the Salvation Army plans to make improvements to the existing building as well as add on to it.

“We’re going to add on about 40 feet with showers and such for the homeless,” Baker said.

Sally’s Place will have several showers for men, women and the handicapped as well as laundry facilities, mailboxes and telephones.

“Just a variety of things to offer,” Baker said. “We’re hoping to have it open as much as six days a week.”

Baker said Sally’s Place might even have medical staff on hand every now and then to administer vaccines.

The Salvation Army’s food bank will be expanded and moved into Sally’s Place as well.

Baker said a large chunk of the funds for the $800,000 facility will come from the estate of C. Keith Birkenfeld, a longtime Bainbridge Island philanthropist, but grants are still needed for the remainder of the expenses.

He said the Kitsap Family YMCA offers limited shower facilities for the homeless and The Coffee Oasis on Burwell Street offers some showers for youth, but that’s it.

“There’s been an awful lot of homeless and some agencies that are looking for this,” Baker said.

He said the Salvation Army decided to name the basic needs shelter Sally’s Place for a variety of reasons.

“The Salvation Army is also called Sally’s by the street people and also because of the book ‘Breakfast at Sally’s,’” Baker said.

“Breakfast at Sally’s” was written by Richard LeMieux who was homeless in Bremerton and regularly visited Sally’s, the soup kitchen at the Bremerton Salvation Army.

Baker said he hopes to have Sally’s Place open and ready for use by Feb. 1, 2010.

“It’s been going on far too long. We’d like to get it up and running and operating,” he said.

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