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Salvation Army to reassess Genesis House shelter

The Salvation Army of Greater Rochester is reassessing its co-ed emergency shelter for youth and will be referring homeless youth ages 16 and 17 to the Center for Youth and other local agencies, the organization said Tuesday.

“Genesis House has been a viable and successful program for many years,” said Major Debbie Burr, director of Monroe County operations for the Salvation Army. “But the landscape has changed, especially during the past 18 months, and we have an opportunity to not only reassess how the Salvation Army’s resources are used here in Rochester but to enhance many of our other programs as well.”

The Salvation Army’s Genesis House opened in 1981 and has been a co-ed emergency shelter for runaway and homeless youth ages 16 to 20 in the Rochester community for four decades.

“Current Genesis House residents 18 years of age or older, as well as any new potential residents who come to us for help, will be transitioned to one of the Salvation Army of Greater Rochester’s three homeless shelters based on need and demographics,” Burr said.

The Salvation Army will form a strategic planning group to determine the greatest needs in the southwest quadrant of Rochester where Genesis House currently resides, and how the organization can best meet those needs, officials said.

During the pandemic, the Rochester chapter of the Salvation Army has seen a more than 50 percent increase in need for food assistance and has added two food pantry distribution sites.

The need in Rochester for permanent supportive housing (PSH), which pairs housing with case management and supportive services, also has increased since the beginning of the pandemic and the Salvation Army currently is looking to add these services to the area.

“This has been a challenging time for everyone in our community – especially for those who come to the Salvation Army in need of help,” Burr explained. “The Salvation Army’s mission of Doing the Most Good will continue as we provide resources for those in need in our community even after the pandemic is over.”

The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from the Salvation Army each year.

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