Salvation Army marches on

The Salvation Army Journey to Life Centre has seen two individuals

graduate the program since it opened a year ago.

The Salvation Army’s Journey to Life Centre in the city has been open

one year and already has had two individuals graduate from the program.

Those individuals are now living and working in the community.

On Monday, the Salvation Army recognized World Homeless Day by

highlighting the work done at some of its locations across Ontario,

including the Journey to Life Centre, in videos on its YouTube

channel. The videos feature clients sharing their stories of how the

organization has helped them.

“I think the key things is we’re more than a shelter,” said Gary

Ferguson, executive director of the Salvation Army and Journey to

Life Centre in Thunder Bay. “What we do is when individuals come in

here, we try to work with them.

“When they first come in, within 48 hours they’re meeting with a case

worker and we’re identifying what their needs are.”

As clients stay longer, Ferguson said they work to find which

supports that client needs.

Those needs include case management, advocacy, health care, life

skills, vocational training, housing or connecting to partner agencies.

“We’re trying to connect people with the resources they need,” he said.

The Journey to Life Centre offers a program to help individuals

acquire the skills they need before moving into the community on

their own.

“It’s always individualized,” said Ferguson. “We’ve had two recent

graduates that have succeeded. . . . It could be something simple

like learning to do laundry and cook. If an individual goes into an

apartment, they need to understand the culture of being a tenant.”

And going into the workforce, the expectations of an employer must

also be known.

Aside from the Journey to Life program, the centre also offers a food

bank and Ferguson said they hand out up to 400 hampers monthly.

The Salvation Army also runs a breakfast program for St. James Public

School amongst a variety of other services.

“When Covid ends, we are going to open up our community kitchen again

and that will be something for the public where they can come and

learn how to cook,” said Ferguson.