A Journey for Families
The Call to Action
An ambitious call to action at this moment in our nation’s history is understandable: the current social suffering in the United States is staggering in depth and in numbers. Brought on by a recession rivaled only by the Great Depression, we have seen continued job loss and chronic unemployment touching almost every community where The Salvation Army serves.
Millions of people have lost their material resources and, in the process, have lost their stability. Crisis and vulnerability are too often seen in families and individuals who come repeatedly to our doors. The need for front-line basic assistance has never been greater. Equally great is the need to provide a pathway out of poverty—moving beyond survival to increased stability—to fundamentally changed lives.
The Salvation Army is recognized for meeting basic human needs. In 2009, in the USA alone, the organization provided almost 17 million families with basic services—one precious life at a time.
Research in 272 corps in the Central Territory found that 90% of corps focus only on basic service needs for clients (e.g. food pantry, utility, rental and material assistance, etc.) and only 10% are able to spend time on solving root causes (e.g. focus on skill development, job training and education classes).
The Pathway of Hope
The typical Salvation Army emergency assistance client arrives in a state of crisis, is temporarily helped, but remains vulnerable—leading to recidivism at a cost to the individual, the organization and the community.
What if The Salvation Army could systematically design emergency assistance programs so that, as a client enters, they could be offered a pathway from crisis to sufficiency, increasing the client’s stability, and degree of hope along the way?
The Bold Initiative
The Salvation Army is now embarking on a major “doubling impact demonstration project”. With this project, we aim to develop a higher impact, resource-sensitive, approach to direct emergency assistance that moves away from simply serving needs. Our goal is to help solve root causes of those needs, enabling individuals to break the cycle of poverty—moving from crisis and vulnerability to increasing stability and even sufficiency—from dependence and despair to independence and hope.
The Salvation Army’s direct emergency assistance services are the friendly face to the individual in most need, and individuals are most receptive to life changes of transformative potential when they reach out for this basic assistance.
The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope Approach
The Salvation Army’s holistic Pathway of Hope approach is built upon existing innovations, case management best practices and leveraging state-wide systems within the territory. The objectives include:
• Developing a new approach to direct emergency assistance that has the potential to enable motivated individuals seeking basic needs assistance to move beyond survival to breaking the cycle of poverty and changing their lives
• Implementing demonstration project plans that are outcomes based and root cause focused, while utilizing current resources.
Families with children were selected as the group most consistent with our strategic priority to break the multi-generational cycle of poverty, preventing families from remaining in hopeless situations.
Solving the root cause with our existing resources
Our Learning Agenda—Designed for Continuous Improvement and Scaling Impact