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Identifying shared goals, opening doors

Commissioners Tidde-connect brings you a series of interviews with territorial leaders Commissioners Floyd and Tracey Tidd on Salvation Army social work, the territory’s social endeavours and their experiences within Australia and their native Canada. Commissioners Floyd and Tracey Tidd were appointed the territorial leaders of the Australia Southern Territory from 1 June 2013.


Identifying shared goals, opening doors

e-connect: What are the perceived differences in the pursuit of Salvation Army mission, as practised in Australia and Canada?

Commissioner Floyd Tidd: It’s probably easier to identify the similarities rather than the differences. There are more similarities. There’s a very strong emphasis on working with those people affected by poverty including homelessness, and those affected by addictions.

Those are the main two umbrellas for social service expression in Canada, and I see they are very prominent here. The other strong similarity is the focus on more than just an immediate response to the presenting need of clients.

There’s an intention here in Australia to move beyond the presenting need to second level programs or resources; there is a similar focus in Canada: ‘Let’s get you what you need today, in this crisis moment, and then let’s figure out how you ended up here today. How can we help you, so that you don’t find yourself in the same crisis?’

Those two focal points are very similar.

e-connect: In this territory we have been using a holistic philosophy of service, Doorways; is there an equivalent in Canada?

FT: Not with that specific title or consistent approach. 

Commissioner Tracey Tidd: We are appreciating the ‘Doorways’ title.  It provides a common language for a number of services provided in a holistic approach. 

FT: That’s one of the differences between the two territories; there has been a significant perspective taken here in this territory. And you’ve developed a language around the concept, which reflects it. Doorways is outstanding, it’s a great umbrella concept for a number of programs. It also achieves connection with a high level of dignity. It’s a different word, a different response, than the word ‘welfare’ or ‘emergency response’.

And the fact that it’s plural; that there is an ‘s’ on the name Doorway – provides an understanding that through this one door there are other services and options and opportunities.  What we were adapting with our housing strategy and our homeless strategy in Toronto, from the divisional social services secretary, was the approach that ‘every door is the right door’.

When you come with a presenting need, you knock on that Salvation Army door, whether it’s the door to a hostel or an addiction centre or a family services centre. It’s the right door, and behind that door we will escort you to whatever other door or doors you need.

The element of a holistic approach is important. The umbrella of Doorways is brilliant.

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