Van will provide services between San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties

LOS ANGELES — The Salvation Army recently announced it received a $1,059,712 grant from Dignity Health to fund the expansion of its Street Level Mobile Homeless Outreach Program to include four new vehicles that will provide services to the Central Valley, San Joaquin Valley, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Dignity Health’s Homeless Health Initiative program grant will enable The Salvation Army to purchase one mobile outreach van per location, retrofit each vehicle to create a mobile office with wifi, and wrap each vehicle with an easily identifiable design so community members who are most in need can spot them. The grant will also support program expenses for 12 months.

“Everyone needs a safe and stable home to live a healthy life with dignity,” said Ashley Brand, system director of homeless health for Dignity Health and CommonSpirit Health. “We have to reach out to people where they are and build trust while learning more about their immediate needs. Through our partnership with The Salvation Army, we can connect with individuals experiencing homelessness—in their surroundings, without judgment—and treat them with the respect they deserve.”

The Salvation Army’s Street Level Mobile Homeless Outreach Program is a housing first, person-centered, and strengths-based approach to help people experiencing homelessness connect with service providers and increase their housing stability. This strategy focuses on meeting people where they are in a non-threatening way to help them find resources appropriate for their situation. The primary goal of this program is to improve people’s housing situation.

“This program started in Seattle and in the first year, the team was able to house more than 90 people when they originally aimed for 20, and about 32% of those housed were families,” said Commissioner Doug Riley, territorial commander of The Salvation Army’s Western Territory. “We are so grateful to Dignity Health for coming alongside us to expand this program to rural communities across the state of California.”

The mobile Street Level team includes two staff members, one who focuses on direct case management, while the other focuses on cultivating relationships with community leaders that can be used for referrals or facilitating access to housing. With a strong network of community leaders, landlords, housing entities, social service providers, and law enforcement agencies, the mobile team can leverage more community resources to assist the client.

Clients will receive referrals to community resources and services that target their need for essentials like food, water, clothing, and hygiene items. Once trust is developed, caseworkers will help to assess each individual’s deeper needs. After an initial assessment is completed, the client’s personal goals, resources, and capacities are crafted into an individualized case plan. The case manager can then draw on their community network to help the client find housing or childcare. Clients are then periodically re-assessed to gauge progress and identify any changes in their needs until they have successfully improved their housing stability or want to discontinue services.

PROGRAM LOCATIONS

Central California 

Home base will be in Fresno (Fresno County) with service to Madera (Madera County) and Merced (Merced County)

San Joaquin County

Home base will be 1305 E. Weber Ave., Stockton. The geographic area will encompass all of San Joaquin County, including Stockton, Manteca and Tracy.

San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties

Home base will be the San Luis Obispo Corps (servicing the rural communities of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, including some of the areas of most need such as Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, and Santa Maria). The mobile van will travel between San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties.

San Bernardino County

Home base will be the San Bernardino Corps and Hospitality House Shelter, servicing San Bernardino, Redlands, Fontana, Big Bear Lake, Rialto, and Victorville.

This grant is the latest example of the ongoing support Dignity Health has provided to The Salvation Army. Most recently, Dignity Health granted The Salvation Army $26,000 for California Wildfire Relief and another $50,000 in March to support those impacted by the social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Los Angeles area.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles