The Salvation Army Makes Director’s Dream Come True
(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) The Salvation Army San Bernardino Corps’ Hospitality House Emergency family Shelter has selected Anne Metu as director. In her new role, she continues to provide vital services for the Inland Empire’s homeless children and families.
Originally from Nigeria, Anne Metu came to the United States, settling in Houston, Texas in 1997. No stranger to helping others, she began her career, with the Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston, where she worked for six years. It was while Metu worked there, that she decided to become a chemical dependency counselor. She later moved to the Family Drug Treatment Court as a coordinator.
“Working in Houston, I noticed a lot of families dealing with both substance abuse and homelessness,” said Metu. “Usually only one person in the family comes forward. My desire grew, wanting to help the entire family heal, not just that one person. I wanted to do what whatever it takes to help them live a normal life and functioning in society.”
Determined to combine her Christian counseling with her passion to battle drug and substance abuse, she began working with women, children and eventually all family members, including men and other extended members of the family, who contribute to its dysfunction. This dysfunction led to what she refers to as unhealthy behaviors such as addiction, shoplifting and more.
After working as a dependency counselor for ten years, she moved to California in the summer of 2010, and began volunteering with the Salvation Army.
“I heard that the Salvation Army was looking for someone to become the director of their Hospitality House,” said Metu. “The opportunity seemed perfect for me, being able to utilize my background of helping others through drug counseling, grant management and administration. I decided to apply for the job, and I got it.”
Coming on board as the new director in 2011, Metu started with emergency shelter, providing those in need with 75 beds available for overnight stays. Clients were required to check out by 8 am.
“When I first started, we allowed short term stays for a maximum of 90 days, as long as a client is seeking employment,” said Metu. “In the Fall of 2011, we expanded our services to become a fully operational transitional housing shelter. Now we can provide 18 to 24 month stays, giving clients an opportunity to move to a higher level of self-sufficiency and permanent housing.”
Offering life skills training, mental health referrals, individual case management and counseling job readiness, Metu says the shelter provides clients with tools to be successful and get back on their feet.
“We provide clients with job skill training,” said Metu. “They receive job preparation coaching classes, parenting skills, along with group counseling and tutoring for children four days a week with the San Bernardino Unified School District (SBUSD).”
Clients are required to locate and maintain employment, pay rent, at least 30% of what they earn. They are also required to save 20% of their income, in an effort to secure permanent housing by time they graduate from our program.
Metu says she is thankful to the Salvation Army for giving her a platform and encouraging her to pursue her passion for helping other people. However, Metu points out that she receives assistance from many areas to make lives better for the San Bernardino underserved through in-kind donations.
“So many people have come together, providing the support we need to do what we can for other,” said Metu. “The children receive tutoring from the SBUSD. The tutors come here, rain or shine and Ms. Brenda Dowdy, with the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, provides school supplies and gifts form different agencies for the children during the holiday season and as they go back to school.”
Other organizations that assist the Hospitality House on a weekly basis include: Ann Curtis with SAC-Norton Clinic, Jerry Heffington with Options House, Peter Emelue form Inland Counties Legal Services,, The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino (CAPSBC) and San Bernardino employment and Training Agency (SBETA).
“This is really is a community effort,” says Metu. “I feel privileged to be apart of such a wonderful team that is dedicated to helping improve the lives of those who are less fortunate and going through a difficult time.”
For more information or to make a donation, call the San Bernardino Corps headquarters at (909) 888-1336. You may drop off your donations at the headquarters building, located at 746 W. Fifth Street, San Bernardino.
About the Salvation Army San Bernardino Corps
The Salvation Army may be able to provide emergency services including food; lodging for homeless or displaced families; clothing and furniture; assistance with rent or mortgage and transportation when funds are available. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) assists rescue workers and evacuees in such disasters as fires.
The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church, and also offers evangelical programs for boys, girls and adults. One of the largest charitable and international service organizations in the world, The Salvation Army has been in existence since 1865 and in San Bernardino since 1887, supporting those in need without discrimination. Donations may always be made online at www.salvationarmyusa.org or by calling 1-(800)-SAL-ARMY or (909) 888-1336.
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