Bridging the gap by intentionally forging unlikely friendships.


Causeway is a Christ-focused initiative of The Salvation Army. It is committed to living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ by intentionally connecting members of the local church with people who were recently homeless but are beginning a new life in a neighborhood. The purpose is to build unlikely yet mutually beneficial friendships.


The idea for ‘Causeway’ comes out of an

ongoing awareness of and discontent with the

fact that many of the men and women who leave shelters and find housing end up feeling isolated and alone in their new apartments. Ultimately, many lose their housing for one reason or another stemming from that loneliness. They then end up back in the shelter system because it’s the closest thing to ‘home’ that they know. This is mostly due to the fact that while they live in shelters they have community, but when they move into their own apartments, they are all alone with no friends or family and no idea how to begin finding community in their neighbourhood.

We also know that many committed Christians are asking regularly, ‘How do we get involved?’ Many Christ-followers really want to do something more than sit in the pew each Sunday. There is a stirring in people’s souls that they want to do something about injustice and poverty but they really do not know what that can look like while they have jobs and family responsibilities. They want to roll up their sleeves and help, but don’t know where to start.

Causeway addresses both of these realities. In fact, the word “Causeway” comes from this concept of bridging a gap. A Causeway is a person-made bridge between two previously separated and impossible-to-connect bodies. The bridge that the causeway initiative is trying to create is between the rich and the poor, between people with resources and people who lack them, between the local church and inner city ministries, between people who have community and people who desire it.

Causeway is NOT a social service program. It is not about providing ‘services’ to ‘clients’. It is an initiative that only can work if both parties involved understand that the friendships being created can and will be mutually beneficial.


Integrative: Causeway believes that community is about relationships. We focus our attention on bringing all people in the community into relationship with each other. Our activities are designed to break down the barriers caused by labelling through opportunities for all members of the community to participate in the life of a community.

Holistic: Causeway views individuals in community as complete people comprised of physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. Causeway also believes that people are more than the sum of their parts. A person's identity is measured in their strengths and gifts and not by their needs and deficits.

Proactive: Causeway takes action in building community. We address immediate issues while envisioning true change in communities. We believe that there are local solutions to solvable problems.

building community
breaking down barriers
people are more than 
the sum of their parts
envisioning true change
local solutions




The Salvation Army runs 5 shelters in the city of Toronto (Maxwell Meighen Center, Gateway, Hope Shelter, Florence Booth House, and Evangeline Residence) Each of these shelters have ‘Housing Specialists’ on staff whose entire job is to find appropriate housing for the residents of the shelter who are looking for their own place to live and then provide follow-up supports once an individual has been housed. Approximately 100 men and women each and every month gets housed from the S.A. shelters in Toronto.

However, due to the volume of people being housed each month and the small number of housing specialists on staff, the follow-up supports are difficult if not impossible to provide. The numbers are simply too great for our staff to manage. As a result, we often see people that we house eventually lose their housing and come back to us. This is referred to as ‘recidivism’.

The Causeway initiative believes that while there are not enough ‘professionals’ to provide follow-up supports to these individuals, there are more than enough committed Christians in churches all across Toronto that could. We believe that part of the Christian imperative is to befriend people in the margins of society. (Micah 6:8, James 1:27, Matt. 25:31-46) Causeway is providing an avenue for Christians to respond to the gospel, the good news, in very practical and vital ways.

We will approach local pastors/congregations, then present the concept to the members of the church and ask for volunteers. We will then do training sessions for those volunteers with topics like a biblical/theological understanding of the poor, boundaries, risks, social determinants of health and well being, potential outcomes, and measuring success. When we have trained volunteers, we will match them with people who express interest in having Causeway volunteers walk alongside them after they have been housed.

The housing specialists will ask each person that they house if they are interested in having a pair of volunteers from the Causeway initiative visit them after they have moved into their apartments. If they do express an interest, before they even move out of the shelter and into their new apartment, we will invite the trained Causeway volunteers to come to the shelter to meet with the housing specialist and the individual moving into the community. This will be the beginning of the relationship.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.


The Causeway Initiative invites members of the church to join together to “walk the walk” with individuals who have recently experienced homelessness. The road to healing is often frustrating and those beginning the journey need a friend to guide and encourage them through the obstacles they will face.

This initiative is developed to encourage people of Christ-like compassion to develop “unlikely friendships” by providing presence, guidance and support. The help of compassionate Christian community members is needed to ensure a positive and successful journey for the individuals who are beginning their walk toward wholeness. 

When these 2 people groups come together, they learn that they both have something to offer each other. People who are poor receive a friend as well as help in connecting to the community and its resources. Also, their stereotypes of ‘the rich’ begin to get broken down in the context of friendship.

People who, on the outside, appear to have everything they need and want, realize that their newfound friends who seem entirely needy on the outside have riches to offer their friendships despite, and often because of their poverty. Their stereotypes of ‘the poor’ also begin to dissipate over time in the context of friendship. Their new friend’s insights into life, love, relationships, community and God are often profoundly rich due to their life experiences.

Ultimately, our hope is that they all will learn that they need each other.

Micah 6:8
James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.


Interested in becoming a partner with Causeway? Want to hear more or have us present our vision to your church community? Ready to build some unlikely friendships? Get in touch and let us know by filling out the form below.




Read testimonials from Causeway partners on how forging friendships with those who have experienced homelessness has changed the lives of everyone involved.