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The Do Gooders Podcast

Apr 13, 2020

You’ve heard us talk about The Salvation Army’s commitment to double its impact on homelessness in the West over the next 5 years. (And if you missed it, head back to episode 6 for a full rundown of what this initiative, called The Way Out, entails.)

California has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country—a fact you can’t miss in its largest metropolitan areas.

And one—a longtime magnet for fortune-seekers, immigrants and artists, known for its steep rolling hills, Victorian architecture, iconic cable cars and famous bridge, the city by the bay paints a picture of the crisis. In San Francisco, some 8,000 people currently live on the streets—an increase of 17 percent since 2017. But it’s more than a statistic—that’s 8,000 individual people without a place to call home.

And so, The Salvation Army in San Francisco has a plan to help address the crisis utilizing its property holdings combined with its existing rehabilitation efforts. In essence, The Salvation Army aims to build a combination of “next-step” and permanent affordable housing along with a workforce development program that will add 1,500 beds to the current housing network available in the city. And at the same time, it will create a clear continuum of care for individuals experiencing homelessness.

It’s a Live-Work-Love model, said Theo Ellington, the Director of Homeless Initiatives and Community Development for The Salvation Army in San Francisco. A native to the city who holds a master’s degree in Urban Affairs from the University of San Francisco and with over a decade of experience in public affairs and community development, Theo is working with The Salvation Army to meet people where they are in this crisis of homelessness because, as he says, we have a moral and spiritual obligation to do so.

He’s on the show to share more about this model and The Salvation Army’s strategy for implementing it in the months ahead. 

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