Rebuilding Hope: Laren Dement's Housing Journey with The Salvation Army

February 13, 2024
Cynthia Fuller |

Rebuilding Hope: Laren Dement's Housing Journey with The Salvation Army

Oklahoma City, OK (February 13, 2024) December 10, 2021 marked a harrowing day for Northeastern Arkansas as an F3 tornado tore through the region, leaving destruction in its wake. Among the affected was Laren Dement, who, fortunately, was away attending a friend's wedding when the disaster struck. Upon his return, he was met with the devastating sight of his 17-year home reduced to rubble, rendering it uninhabitable. Thankfully, friends extended their support, providing Laren with refuge during his sudden displacement. Despite having insurance coverage, the road to recovery proved daunting.


Intent on rebuilding, Laren sought to purchase a portable building to establish a new home on his property, supported by his insurance. However, stringent city codes presented formidable barriers, constraining his options, and exacerbating his predicament. Additionally, six months of unemployment compounded his challenges, casting a shadow of uncertainty over his future.


In November 2022, The Salvation Army's disaster case management intervened, extending a lifeline of support. Laren met with Jim Hoffpauir, The Salvation Army’s case manager, who worked directly with him throughout his journey. Teaming up with community partners, they navigated the labyrinth of city regulations, advocating for leniency on Laren's behalf. Despite encountering setbacks, their collective efforts opened avenues for alternative recovery strategies.


Exploring the possibility of relocating within the community emerged as a promising solution for Laren's fresh start. Guided by a real estate agent, he found a residence that resonated with his vision. With the unwavering support of The Salvation Army, who was able to assist with the purchase of the home, and fellow community members who provided the furnishings, financial obstacles were overcome, paving the path for Laren's journey toward renewal.


On October 20, 2023, Laren embraced a pivotal moment in his recovery journey as he received the keys to his new home, bidding farewell to the uncertainty that once loomed large. Expressing profound gratitude, he acknowledged the transformative impact of The Salvation Army's assistance, remarking, "Honestly, it was the best experience working with The Salvation Army. It opened my eyes to the good in people as I was really beginning to wonder. I am so grateful as I couldn’t have done it without The Salvation Army."


In the face of adversity, the solidarity of the community and compassionate support have empowered Laren to rebuild his life and embrace a brighter future.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 30 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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