Jun 14, 2022


Shirley Sneed sits on a white reclining chair inside her new apartment, smiling and nervous with memories and images of someone special spread out for all her guests to see. She shares her life with us, remembering when she and her two children found themselves at their lowest, homeless and with nowhere to go. Shirley closes her eyes and takes a deep breath as she retells her story. She says, "I am ready," as she begins to share her story.

Ms. Sneed recalls the hard decisions she had to make, hit after hit, as a single, Black mother without support. She takes a couple of breaks as she shared her bout against depression and a time when she had just completely given up on life. Then she remembers her son, Joshua, taken too soon, taken without notice. Joshua's memory lives on in the images and High School diploma saved by Ms. Sneed. After everything, she found herself needing to seek medical assistance and has been living in an environment not conducive to her health for the last few years. 

Her experiences are reflective of the homeless disparities in the Black community. For many people, decades of racist structures and prejudices have created inter-generational effects and disadvantages. This can be so entrenched in institutions and culture that people can unwittingly perpetuate racial division. With various historical factors affecting this, from slavery to segregation, Black communities have struggled to overcome decades of racist structures and prejudices that have created inter-generational disadvantages. Though only being 13% of the nation's population, Black populations make up 59% of the people experiencing homelessness and more than 50% of homeless families with children.*

But for Shirley Sneed there was hope  when she found The Salvation Army of Greater Houston. After being connected with us via our partnership with The Coalition for the Homeless and going through the intake process, we found that we could help her through the Diversion Program. She needed our help after missing rent a few months and not having enough rental resources to find a new location. We were able to help Ms. Shirley by giving her a couple of options within her budget, and she chose the best location according to her needs.

After sharing her journey with us, Ms. Sneed takes a break, closes her eyes to get her words out. "I am just so grateful to God, The Salvation Army, Ms. Stephanie [her case manager] …" As a woman of faith, she recalls the role God, her pastor, Pastor Mother Frank of Blessed & Beyond Ministry, family, and church members, had on her path to recovery. 

Now in her new home, she is more at peace and is officially certified as Sunday School Teacher. She hopes to continue showing others the power of faith and the blessings provided to her by God to overcome all her adversaries, whether physical, mental, or emotional. She also hopes to continue keeping Joshua’s memory alive.

To help us continue serving women like Ms. Shirley Sneed, be a part of Love's Army by donating monthly


*Data from National Alliance to End Homelessness

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