We’re all heading h.o.m.e

I don’t know one single person that thinks that everything in their life is exactly the way they want it. There will always something we want that we think would make our lives at least a little better.

It could be around our appearance (perhaps we think we're too heavy, too small, too bald, too hairy, too short, etc.), our relationships, our health, our job, car, home, church, or government. Essentially we’re all in one way or another unsettled, homeless, and on a journey towards home. There is no distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them.' There's just us.

In our shelter work at The Salvation Army in downtown Toronto (now known as Toronto Housing and Homeless Supports or THHS), we take that premise very seriously. We operate close to 600 beds per night for men and women who have found themselves homeless for some reason beyond their control.

As we believe that the opposite of ‘homeless’ is ‘home’, we have made that word the center of all that we do. (I will focus my next 4 columns on each of these words but for now will just introduce the concepts)

H-Housing

We have focused all of our energy on finding decent places to live for the people who come through our doors. The latest survey of folks who are homeless shows that well over 90% of people asked want housing. We help an average of 25 people per month move out of our shelters and into their own place.

O-Outcomes

Any agency that receives any funding from anywhere is now required to demonstrate the outcomes of their work. It’s a very reasonable expectation of any funding body to expect that an agency is actually making a difference. At THHS we've decided to make our outcomes simple.

We have  two:

  1. To get people housed.
  2. To keep people housed.

M-Mission

We make no apology for being a Christian agency, and require all of our staff to work within and be supportive of our mission statement and core values. As Mission Strategist for THHS, it is my role to keep our mission statement front and centre in the minds of all of our staff in our shelters at all times.

Our mission statement is this:

The Salvation Army exists to share the love of Jesus Christ, meet human needs, and be a transforming influence in the communities of our world.

E-Excellence

We want to do all that we do as well as possible for the sake of the many people who access our services. We will strive to provide the best quality care that we can to the people we meet who have often been so abused and mistreated throughout their lives.

As we each continue on our journey h.o.m.e, it is our hope that one day there will be no more homelessness. One person without a home is one too many.

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About the author


ChristianWeek Columnist

Dion Oxford is the Mission Strategist for The Salvation Army's five homeless shelters in Toronto, called Housing and Homeless Supports torontohhs.org. Dion along with his wife, Erinn, and daughter, Cate, live in Toronto and are committed to journeying alongside people in the margins of society. He blogs at dionoxford.com