A Longtime Donor Receives Vital Rent Assistance from The Salvation Army

Aug 4, 2020

Corliss Wilson was weathering COVID-19 fairly well for a 64-year-old woman with a bad back and knee who doesn’t drive and works in healthcare. She was doing her best to stay healthy and employed in this difficult season.

Then, in April, the owner of the company she was working for, as a certified medical assistant, committed suicide and the company shut down. Suddenly Corliss, a widow, was struggling to pay rent for the two-bedroom Rogers Park apartment she’s called home for the past 24 years.

Someone suggested she call The Salvation Army. She was familiar with the organization, but wasn’t sure we could help her. Still, she reasoned, “Nothing beats a failure but a try.”

After a phone call, Corliss found herself at an appointment with Marilyn, an emergency assistance caseworker at The Salvation Army Mayfair Community Church. The two women sat at an outside table, enjoying some water and chocolate, and before they parted, Marilyn assured Corliss that the Army could help her. Soon she had a check for $1,170, the one month of rent she was behind.

“I was so grateful and elated. I couldn’t believe it,” Corliss said. “I honestly don’t know what I would have done without that help.” Though she had put $10 to $20 in our red kettles at Christmas for years, Corliss said, “All these years I never would have thought I’d need these people.”

The rent assistance got her caught up with her landlord, and will help tide her over until the new agency she’s signed on with starts giving her assignments she can get to without driving. After working in medical facilities for most of her career, health issues in recent years have inspired Corliss to switch to home healthcare. Considering most of her clients are elderly and wary of letting anyone into their home, even someone in the healthcare field, work has been very slow.

While Corliss waits for things to pick up, she’s grateful for the help from the Army. So is her grown daughter, who stays with her a couple days a week and helps her mom financially. “The help meant a lot to me – and to my daughter,” Corliss said. “She said to me, ‘That’s so awesome what they did.’”

Corliss says she has always respected The Salvation Army, but that feeling is now very personal. “It means a heck of a lot more to me now,” she said, adding that she’s even more committed to putting money in a red kettle whenever she sees one. “The Salvation Army is a wonderful organization that’s been around forever. I can only imagine the millions of people they have helped by now.”

Learn about all the ways The Salvation Army is responding to the coronavirus – as well as how you can help – at salarmychicago.org/coronavirus

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For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.

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