The Salvation Army Journey of Hope Family Village

Major Ethan Frizzell is the joint Area Commander of the Salvation Army in Sarasota, Florida. Along with his wife Sue, he is responsible for the provision of extensive social services and faith based work in Sarasota. In this video interview he talks about his vision for the “Journey of Hope family Village” and describes the approach that will be taken to the management of stakeholders in the project.

The city of Sarasota lies on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, about an hour’s drive south of Tampa. It has a population of 52,501 (in 2014), with the Sarasota County area home to 390,429 people (in 2013). In the winter, it is a popular destination for snowbirds from the northern US states and Canada.


While in the winter months the local economy is relatively strong, in the non “season” time employment is scarce and poverty is widespread. The recent turbulence in the US housing market has had a particularly severe impact on those on lower incomes in Sarasota. As movement has occurred from owned residences to rentals by more affluent people, rents have risen, creating hardship for those with least ability to pay higher prices.

Major Frizzell describes the homelessness situation in Sarasota and introduces his vision for the “Journey of Hope Family Village”. The village is intended to help people who may be recovering from an addiction and working to stabilise their lives. Some are working to get their children back home from care and require a suitable environment for them. They also need the opportunity to initiate “social momentum” which will allow them to begin a progressive improvement in their lives. Finally, the need for support for the development of the children is discussed, focusing on their future prospects and preventing them becoming future Salvation Army clients.

The Journey of Hope Family Village is intended to achieve these objectives and the effective management of stakeholders will be necessary to make it a success. The approach that the Salvation Army will use for this is outlined. The need to engage all stakeholders is emphasised and Major Frizzell says that they try to be “overly transparent”, providing open access to information on their community projects. Open meetings will be used to share information and engage with stakeholders and more regular meetings of interested people will be held that are intended to encourage participation in the project and in the village itself when it is completed. “Design Flexibility” will be used to enable input to the design that will be constructed, recognising that many different possible designs will achieve the project objectives.

Major Frizzell concludes the interview with advice for students from the University of Waterloo. He encourages them to approach their work with the same enthusiasm that they had when they joined the university and to be life long learners, always remembering that there is more to learn. We are grateful to Major Frizzell for taking the time to participate in the interview and share his knowledge with the University of Waterloo students.


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