Salvation Army’s Unique Approach to Address OC Homelessness

By August 26, 2021August 30th, 2021No Comments

As we focus on the organizations making a difference in our community, this issue recognizes The Salvation Army’s unique Homeless Throughput System (HTS). Developed here in Orange County, the HTS has become such a proven model that it is being used now in major cities and metro areas for the organizations’ sustainable nationwide efforts to help end homelessness.  

 According to The Salvation Army’s Captain Nesan Kistan, Orange County Divisional Secretary, this system leverages the group’s international experience in successful refugee reintegration. “Our international work history inspired innovative strategies to move homeless residents off the streets and toward a life of greater autonomous living,” said Captain Nesan.

The Homeless Throughput System is composed of three major movements:  Intervention, Transition, and Re-Integration.  For ease of communication, these three elements are visually organized around a classic baseball diamond, demonstrating both the progress of each step and the need for continual advancement to achieve success, “Safely Home.”   

The first step consists of intervention – whole-person triage care in the context of a shelter for at least 90 days. They are need-assessed and assigned a personal case manager within 48 hours of arrival, who works with the resident to identify and overcome barriers to both employment and safe housing. At this stage, a range of expert services are provided, including Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Programs, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as spiritual care to eliminate barriers to self-sufficiency. 

The system’s next stage involves the clients’ transition to independent living, supported by continued case management and treatment. The focus continues to be upon mindset and resource empowerment. Work rehabilitation and job placement is emphasized at this stage, which can last up to 24 months, and clients are housed in studio units with a private bath and kitchenette. At this stage, TSA partners with the nonprofit organization Chrysalis, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals.

For over 37 years, Chrysalis has been helping Southern California’s most vulnerable find jobs and break the cycle of homelessness and poverty with their unique services and Employment Social Enterprise programs. Both TSA and Chrysalis understand that a job is more than a paycheck; it provides a sense of purpose, builds confidence, and instills a sense of belonging. The synergy and collaboration between these two agencies work to provide trauma-informed care and create a community where all Orange County residents are able to work and thrive.

After successful triage and continued care and resource empowerment through transitional living, residents have reached a place of personal healing, life empowerment and economic self-sufficiency that makes them strong candidates for the reintegration phase of the program.   

At this phase, the Homeless Throughput System advocates for bold and unconventional efforts. The Salvation Army’s ongoing research into the psychology of personal incentive has helped put forward a breakthrough solution: a compelling personal vision of hope, presented with a clear path to personal success, backed each step of the way with a first-in-the-nation approach it calls Supportive Placement. This can take the form of small business micro-loans, rent deposits and moving expenses, utility deposits, furnishings, reliable transportation, and any direct costs associated with a successful transition to true self-sufficiency.  

For more information about the Homeless Throughput System, click here

Karly Simpson

Author Karly Simpson

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