The Salvation Army Gateway Service Center

Daily Point of Light # 1346 Apr 1, 1999

The homeless of Philadelphia are getting a helping hand from the Salvation Army Gateway Service Center, a program that provides a low demand residence for homeless males and a twelve hour Day Program. For those in need of short-term emergency shelter, the residence can accommodate up to 70 individuals and necessary support services. The Day Program offers the homeless access to showers, bathrooms, three meals a day, laundry and clothing.

Overall, Gateway serves as a volunteer center for services rendered to the homeless. Formed in 1993, the Gateway program has evolved in significant ways but the center's philosophy has not changed—to address the minds, the bodies and spirits of its clients. To accomplish its goals, Gateway mentors are available to discuss the client's problems and connect them with appropriate long term services.

The Day Program is open at the center from eight in the morning until eight in the evening, seven days a week. Monitoring staff, security, maintenance, kitchen employees and supervisory personnel attempt to provide, whenever possible, at least two programs at any given time for client choice. The daily programs are structured and there are specific times for opening the bathrooms and shower areas for client use. The clients break into groups to discuss topics with mentors that include drugs and alcohol, relapse prevention, self-esteem issues, women's issues and sexual health.

The volunteer program component of the Gateway Service Center is comprised of an inter-disciplinary, inter-institutional health care program. The Jeff HOPE Medical Clinic, The Hands of Hope Physical Therapy Health and Wellness Clinic, Jeff HOPE Advocacy, Fairmount Medical Center, and Pennsylvania Hospital's Hall-Mercer Mental Health Unit are among the health institutions that provide outreach services to Gateway Center clients. All of these services are voluntary. Negotiations are being conducted to add students from Allegheny University to those who staff The Health and Wellness Clinic.

In collaboration with two other homeless shelters in the city, Gateway also offers a Life Skills Program to its clients. The Center is waiting for funding for a Work Readiness Program to link with the Life Skills Program. Both programs have been designed to ready clients to return to society. The Gateway Service Center also focuses on traditional education, serving as a host site for the Mayor's Commission on Literacy and offering courses such as English as a Second Language and Basic Adult Education. Links are maintained to the major area universities to educate people about the homeless and their plight.