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Grant to help Salvation Army help families

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Duana Bremer is hoping to help at least 26 more families this year.

Bremer, director of the Grace Place/Salvation Army in Somerset, said that last year, her organization served 26 families through the Tenant Based Rental Assistance grant.

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This year, the Salvation Army received a $100,000 TRBA grant from the Department of Commerce. The grant money will be split between St. Croix, Pierce and Polk counties.

TRBA is designated to subsidize rent for low-income individuals in the community.

Bremer explained that recipients fall into three priority categories: mental issues, alcohol or drug abuse or someone having to forego working full-time to stay home to care for a relative.

"We had a woman who had a husband who was very ill," recalled Bremer. "This grant gave her the opportunity to stay home and take care of him until he passed."

Although the three categories are given priority, Bremer said that anyone with low-income in the community can apply.

"Unfortunately, we are usually so full that we've not gone beyond those three categories," she said.

Indeed, although she said that families were helped in 2010 through this grant, the money ran out within four months.

"And we are anticipating serving more this year," she said.

As part of the grant, the Salvation Army is instituting a new family mentoring program.

Local families would volunteer for a one-year commitment to provide encouragement for those applicant families to find jobs, help with resumes, etc.

"If one family likes doing outdoor activities, we'd ideally like to match them up with a volunteer family who also likes outdoor activities," she explained.

"This is not a babysitting service," she continued, "but actually for them to be a role model."

For more information about the TRBA grant process or becoming a family mentor, contact Lori Scheder at Grace Place by calling 715-247-2944.

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