A dream and cry in the dark

The history of Booth Supportive Services is long vested in The Salvation Army’s work supporting adults with a concurrent disorder.

Starting in 1977 within two buildings, the program morphed to provide “wrap-around support” to adults dealing with serious mental health issues, addictions and sporadic homelessness in homes of people’s choice. By doing so, Booth Supportive Services in Ontario, Canada, has changed the way the Army supports people by removing the need for a building.

In two years, the program has decreased hospital visits, partnered with other agencies, and is being recognized.

Our successes are based on our belief in service coordination, ensuring client’s health care needs are met even if that means bringing the support to them, and bridging the gaps to access support and services for our clients,” said Allison McDonald, executive director of the Booth Supportive Services. “We believe that our wrap-around service as a community-based agency of The Salvation Army ensures that the Army’s great work is seen not only in buildings but in communitie.”

The staff acts as a bridge that connects the client to community resources needed to begin that long road to sobriety and healthy, happy and independent living. Services are built on the principle that change is possible, and the desire for change must come from the individual. The frequency, nature and intensity of Booth Supportive Services involvement, as well as the place where the service will be provided, are up to the client. Services are fluid, intensive, flexible, holistic, both in the community and place-based, working from a trauma-informed framework and harm reduction approach with a staff to client ratio of 1:15 and accessibility to staff on call at all times.

Each client is assigned a staff member to work alongside him or her to establish  personal goals and practice basic life skills.

A community-based chaplain provides Bible study and devotions at congregate settings where clients live, along with individual spiritual counseling and support.

“The message of The Salvation Army is we are here to serve, to support and to be a transforming influence in the communities of our world,” McDonald said. “We at Booth Supportive Services are ensuring we do that one person at a time.”

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