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Feb19WedThe Salvation Army gave Jason the tools he needed to escape homelessness, poverty and addiction. February 19, 2020 by June Li
For more than two decades, Jason called the streets his home. Things went from bad to worse when he began experimenting with drugs. He became addicted to narcotics, and soon his life went on a downward spiral.
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Ticket to Ride
Looking for some peace and solace, Jason visited The Salvation Army.
“Whenever I wanted a break from my insane world, I would visit the Vancouver Harbour Light,” says Jason. What began as a temporary visit soon turned into something much bigger. Jason enrolled in Harbour Light’s treatment program, which treats addiction through education, group therapy and one-on-one counselling.
After three months, Jason completed the program. “I disconnected from the outside world, which is what I needed, and in August 2014, I walked out of Harbour Light for the last time as I successfully completed the program.”
Though Jason was now sober, he had nowhere to go. For those who have experienced chronic homelessness, finding safe and stable housing can be difficult. Looking for assistance, Jason contacted his outreach worker, and was given a ticket back home to Toronto.
With $30 in his pocket and a backpack full of food, Jason embarked on his new journey.
Breaking the Cycle
“When I arrived in Toronto, I went back to where my roots were, and that place was The Salvation Army Gateway.”
Jason soon registered in the Gateway’s intensive case management program, which focuses on housing and building supports around the individual and their needs.
“The model we use is called CTI, also known as Critical Time Intervention,” says Josh McClement, case manager at the Gateway. “This model uses the journey of change, which moves someone from being stuck in an area of life to being independent.”
Through stable housing and extended support, this program strives to help individuals stay housed and break the cycle of homelessness.
Today, Jason is enrolled at Ryerson University, has sustainable income and has been housed at the Gateway for more than a year after being displaced due to high rent increases.
“I’m not the only homeless post-secondary student at Gateway or at any other shelter in the city,” he says. “Thanks to Gateway, I have a roof over my head.”
“We have seen some amazing changes in Jason as he has gone through his journey,” says Josh. “He has worked very hard and deserves all the credit for his success in this program.”
“I often wonder how I got here,” says Jason. “The Gateway gave me the tools I needed to escape from poverty and addiction.”