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Doorways CSS - Emergency Relief Handbook


1.1 Who is the Handbook for?

This handbook is a guide and resource for all Salvation Army  (TSA) Community Support Service (CSS) employees, volunteers and officers across the TSA Australia Southern Territory (AUS)  who provide, supervise or manage delivery of CSS clients services including: 
-   Emergency Relief
-   Intensive Emergency Relief 
-   Doorways Case Management Services
-   TSA Financial Counselling Services. 

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1.2 Purpose - How should it be used

The purpose of the handbook is to support establishment of  consistent Emergency Relief practices and processes in all TSA Community Support Services sites across the AUS territory

This handbook is designed to provide a reference tool, procedural/instructional guide and training resource to inform the delivery of TSA Community Support Service delivery of Emergency Relief under the TSA Doorways philosophy.

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1.3 Definitions 

-  Emergency Relief
-  Intensive Emergency Relief
-  Doorways Case Management
-  Financial Counselling 

Emergency Relief

Emergency Relief (ER) is the provision of material aid assistance and/or financial assistance to meet immediate crisis needs of clients. Types of material aid assistance include: food vouchers or food parcels, gift cards, food, clothing, furniture and household goods, budgeting assistance, bill payment assistance, transport tickets, fuel vouchers, medical and pharmaceuticals vouchers.   ER can also provide referral, advocacy, information and support services to clients.

Emergency Relief may be a one-off transaction or a number of separate episodes of support over weeks/months/years.

ER is often described as a “transactional” engagement with clients – meaning that a presenting need is identified and an assistance in the form of a voucher or food is offered to address the presenting need.

See section 2 of this handbook for a more detailed description of Emergency Relief.

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Emergency Relief - Intensive Assistance

Intensive Emergency Relief assistance can provide the full range of assistance described in ER material aid. However, the focus is on a deeper engagement with the client (often involving longer appointment time allocations and/or multiple appointments).   The focus is information and support, advocacy and referral via one-to-one targeted client assistance linked to matters identified during initial ER intake assessment. 

Intensive assistance ER seeks to arrive at the best possible outcome for the client in relation to the crisis needs (multiple bills – need to set up payment plans etc.) the goal is to provide guidance on looking at these bills holistically and identifying how they can be better managed in the future.    It may also involve assisting clients with development of a basic budget document as one of the strategies.   This process can draw out issues that indicate the need for an immediate referral to a financial counsellor.

As an example delivery of intensive ER may involve provision of:

Support advocacy and referral to avoid disconnection of essential services
Urgent intervention, referral, advocacy to avoid client being evicted from primary residence.  
Urgent referrals to Family Domestic Violence services. 
Providing advocacy support with utilities hardship services including supporting the client with establishment of payment plans.
Immediate assistance combined with a referral to a financial counsellor (internal or external)  
Immediate assistance combined with a referral to a TSA Doorways case manager
Referral to specialised support services (internal and external)
Referral to community programs (internal or external)









Within ER intensive assistance the worker can continue to provide material aid. However the focus of support is in the broader areas of:

  • Referrals
  • Advocacy
  • Skills development i.e. basic budget development/support
  • Community Engagement

See Section 2 of this handbook for detailed description of each of the above services.

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Doorways Case Management

TSA Doorways case management (CM) is an extended support service for ER clients. CM provides an environment where trained CM workers seek to build relationships with clients that have a focus on the underlying issues contributing to their need to access Emergency Relief. The case work model is a strengths based approach, designed to support clients to build their individual capacity and resilience. CM is a “wrap-around” approach; the worker is supporting clients to address their immediate presenting needs and concurrently supporting them to develop strategies and skills to give them opportunities to work on achieving more sustainable outcomes.

Identification of steps and/or supports that will assist clients to achieve their goals and referral to appropriate services is a key function of the case workers. These steps are developed jointly, with options provided by the CM and the client making the final decision on forward plan. The agreed steps are then included in the Clients “Case Plan” which becomes the primary tool to guide future CM sessions.

CM may also provide, advocacy, basic budget support and skills development as required.

Please note: Case management services DO NOT include provision of ER material aid. If the need for this support is identified, the CM is required to refer the client to an ER worker.

See Section 2 of this Handbook for detailed description of TSA case management service structure.

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Financial Counselling 

Financial counselling is a specialised service, which can only be provided by qualified financial counsellors.

ER workers are encouraged to refer clients who present with complex financial issues to a financial counsellor. This is a critical early intervention strategy. Research has identified that the best outcomes will be achieved for clients if they are connected to a Financial Counsellor as early as possible in their debt spiral experience.

Financial Counsellors provide assistance to clients experiencing financial related stress, including minor debt, complex multiple debt situations through to extreme cases of threatened and/or actual bankruptcy. Support is specialised, and intensive. The goal is to support clients to reduce debt and/or break cycles of debt driven anxiety.

TSA financial counsellors are required (under ASIC licensing exemption guidelines) to:

  • be qualified - they must have (or be in the process of finishing) a Diploma of Community Support Services, Financial Counselling
  • be members of the state FC association
  • be supported by professional supervision
  • undertake annual mandated professional development to ensure they retain currency with all Government legislation including the Credit Protection Act (2009).

See Section 2.4.10 of this handbook for detailed description of TSA financial counselling services, and guidance for ER workers on the types of client presenting issues, which under ASIC Corporations Act 2001 and TSA guidelines, require that the client be referred to a qualified Financial Counsellor.   Plus Section 2.5.2: Alert 8 “When is it mandatory for TSA ER Workers to refer a client to a Financial Counsellor”.

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1.4 The Salvation Army Client Services Charter

The Salvation Army Client Services Charter underpins all CSS/ER service delivery as detailed throughout this handbook.

A printable copy of the client services charter can be accessed at Section 5 of this handbook.   All CSS/ER delivery sites are required to print a copy of the charter for inclusion in their Site Operations Guide.

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1.5 TSA Organisational Structure

1.5.1 What is a TSA Territory
1.5.2 Planning for "Australia One"
1.5.3 What is a TSA Division
1.5.4 Dvisions in Australia Southern Territory (AUS)

1.5.1 What is TSA Territory?

Overview of The Salvation Army Territorial structure in Australia

The Salvation Army in Australia is currently divided into two territories, 
-  Australia Southern Territory  (AUS)  -  (Vic, SA, WA, Tas, and NT)
-  Australia Eastern Territory (AUE) – (NSW, Qld and ACT) 

Management and leadership of each of these territories are the responsibility of the Territorial Commander (please note during transition to Australia One (see point 1.5.2.below) management of both territories will be undertaken by the respective Territorial Chief Secretary in-Charge. 

AUS Territorial Headquarters  is located in Melbourne  (95 Railway Road, Blackburn). 

AUE Territorial Headquarters is located in Sydney (261-265 Chalmers Street, Redfern, NSW)

This handbook has been written to support all Emergency Relief  delivery by TSA CSS sites in all divisions in the Australia Southern Territory (AUS).

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1.5.2 Planning for "Australia One"

In March, 2016 The Salvation Army International Headquarters (IHQ) announced a plan to establish one (1) Australia wide territory (in place of the two existing Australian territories).  The name given to this process is “Australia One”. 

The transition to this new national structure will proceed over the period 1 June, 2016 to 31 December, 2018.   Australia One has a formal start date of 1 January, 2019. 

Current AUE and AUS territorial structures (as outlined above) are to remain in place during the initial to medium phase of this transition.   Updates to this process will be incorporated into this handbook as they are finalised.

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1.5.3 What is a TSA Division

Overview of divisional organisational structure in Australia Southern Territory (AUS). 

The Salvation Army in Australia Southern Territory’s operational delivery (corps and social) is organised under geographic areas of responsibility called divisions – there are six divisions, one Region and one State Social Command in AUS (total eight geographic locations). The divisional leadership and State Social Command leadership (headed by a divisional/state social commander) is responsible for overseeing and directing all day to day operations for all activity undertaken within their division/social command.

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1.5.4 Division in Australia Southern Territory (AUS)

- Central Victoria Division (CVD)
- Eastern Victoria Division (EVD)
- Western Victoria Division (WVD)
- Victorian State Social Command (VSSC)

South Australia 
- South Australia Division (SAD)

Western Australia 
- Western Australia Division (WAD)

Tasmania Division 
- Tasmania Division (TAD)

Northern Territory 
- Northern Territory Region (NTR) 

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1.6 Divisional Oversight of CSS/ER

1.6.1 Accountability for ER Delivery
1.6.2 Org. Charts - Divisional Oversight of ER Delivery

1.6.1 Accountability for ER Delivery 

Position / Title Accountability Responsibilities
Divisional Commander (DC)

Reports to the Chief of Secretary In-Charge, AUS THQ.

Please note: Prior to June 2016, all DCs reported to the Territorial Commander. The current reporting structure is linked to transition to Australia One processes.;

The divisional commander (DC) has responsibility to ensure that all CSS sites delivering Emergency Relief across the designated TSA division undertake and deliver services in line with the mission of TSA and concurrently aligned to DSS guidelines (if DSS funded).

Divisional Social Program Secretary (DSPS) 


Divisional Mission Resources Secretary(DMRS)

Reports to the Divisional Commander

The position is responsible for divisional oversight of all CSS/Emergency Relief site operational delivery.  

The actual title varies according to State as summarised below:   

Divisional Social Program Secretary (DSPS).In South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Regional Social Program Secretary (RSPS)In Northern Territory (NTR) 

In 3 Victorian divisions – EVD, CVD and WVDNominated Position is: Divisional Mission Resources Secretary (DMRS) 

In Victoria State Social Command Nominated Positions are: Social Program Secretaries (SPS)

Divisional Doorways Coordinatorsor 



Reports to DSPS or DMRS Divisional Doorways Coordinators have been appointed in some divisions to support all CSS/ER sites within the division to meet all ER, all reporting requirements, monitor financial management of site, support with upskilling staff and ensure best practice delivery.    

Corps Officer (CO)


CSS Site Manager*


COs report  directly to the DC.  

Please Note: COs may also have a “functional” report to a DSPS or DMRS if the site they are managing is receiving DSS Funding for ER Delivery.

*CSS Site Managers report directly to the DSPS.  

The day to day delivery of ER within a site may be managed by either a corps officer (CO),  a CSS site manager or a team leader. 

In all cases the responsibilities are the same. The position is responsible for managing day to day operations at the site to ensure that all ER delivery is undertaken in accordance with the territorial policies/minutes, TSA mission values,  the Doorways CSS – Emergency Relief Handbook, and complies with requirements of the  DSS ER funding contract  (if DSS ER funding is being distributed at the site).  

 ER Workers Report to the site CSS Manager or Corps Officer ER workers are responsible for delivery of Emergency Relief services at their site in accordance with their position description and in accordance with the procedures - policies, minutes and guidance within the Doorways CSS Emergency Relief Handbook. 

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1.6.2 Organisational Charts - Divisional Oversight of ER Delivery

The organisation chart below reflects a divisional structure that has Divisional Social Program Secretary as nominated person responsible for divisional oversight of ER/CSS Delivery.

There are slight differences in organizational structures across divisions/state social command in AUS, accordingly it is recommended that sites liaise with the respective divisional/state social headquarters to request an orgisational chart (reflecting the divisional oversight model applicable to their site) to include as a reference tool in the site operations guide. 

Example Organisational Chart

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1.7 CSS Site Configurations

1.7.1 Stand Alone CSS/ER Sites
1.7.2 Hub/Satellite ER Delivery Models - What is a Hub Site?
What is a Hub Site?
What is a Satellite Site?
How do Hub and Satellite Sites Work together? 

1.7.1 Stand Alone CSS/ ER Sites

A Doorways stand alone CSS/ER service is not formally linked to (or providing assistance to) any other TSA CSS site. These sites can be large or small; the complexity of service delivery at these sites is aligned to the level of resources (funding and accommodation options). Highly resourced stand alone sites will be able to provide an extensive array of support to address crisis needs or link ER clients to multiple internal and external forms of assistance matched to identified presenting needs of clients. As a minimum, a stand alone site will provide Emergency Relief and Intensive ER, including budgeting assistance and referral of clients to appropriate services. Depending on resources this range of services could be expanded to include provision of case management services, financial counselling services and multiple community connection activities.

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1.7.2 Hub / Satellite ER Delivery Models

What is a Hub Site?

A Doorways hub is a central service from which clients can receive multiple forms of assistance matched to the identified presenting needs of clients. A Doorways hub will usually provide full ER and intensive ER supported by access to case management and/or financial counselling services as initial supports. However, a hub site will often have a broad suite of additional services such as meals programs, play groups, mothers’ groups, community garden programs, positive lifestyle programs, cooking classes, computer lab for clients etc. Hubs support satellite sites via either accepting client referrals from satellites or by rotating their specialist staff between the hub and the satellite to “take services to the clients”.

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What is a Satellite Site?

A Doorways satellite is a service that provides Emergency Relief and intensive ER to presenting clients. Satellites will work in partnership with hubs to connect clients to the more comprehensive array of services available at the hub. This partnership can be flexibly arranged, with clients either being referred to the central hub for further support, or with case managers or financial counsellors from the local hub working a number of hours at a satellite centre to provide support to satellite clients.

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How do Hub and Satellite Sites Work together?

Hubs and satellites remain independent units in terms of management, finance, administration etc. However it is expected that hubs and satellites will work in partnership to provide the best outcomes for clients, through the sharing of services, particularly case management and linkage to multiple supports. Hubs and satellites can, where appropriate, form “regional” teams that provide off-site support for clients in their region.

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1.8 Abbreviations - Acronyms

ACOSS Australian Council of Social Services
AUS Australian Southern Territory
CBC Catherine Booth College
CM Case Management
CO Corps Officer
CRN Customer Registration Number (Centrelink)
CSS Community Support Services
CVD Central Victoria Division 
DC Divisional Commander
DEX DSS Data Exchange 
DHQ Divisional Headquarters
DMRC Divisional Mission Resources Secretary
DSPS Divisional Social Program Secretary 
DSS Department of Social Services
ER Emergency Relief
ESIS Economic and Social Impact Survey
EVD Eastern Victoria Division 
FC Financial Counselling
FCA Financial Counselling Australia
FCRC Financial and Consumer Rights Council
NTR Northern Territory Region
RTO Registered Training Organisation 
SAD South Australia Division 
SAMIS Service and Mission Information System
SLD School of Learning and Development (Catherine Booth College)
TAD Tasmania Division 
THQ Territorial Headquarters
TSA The Salvation Army
VSSC Victoria State Social Command
WAD Western Australia Division 
WVD Western Victoria Division 

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