The Salvation Army LIFNAV (Life Navigation Coaching) program offers street level engagement and support for our neighbors living outside shelter, while helping them navigate their path to rapid rehousing. We do this by engaging with them by providing basic needs and resources to build relationships of trust and belonging. Then we empower them to design their own personal stories and develop SMART plans of action to reach their goals. Finally, we equip them with the tools and resources needed to put their plans into action.
The Salvation Army’s strength has historically risen up from simple meetings on the streets. From General William Booth to Joe the Turk, the Slum Sisters, to the ringing of the bells in San Francisco, the call of Salvation, Life is found outside with our people. LIFNAV serves from this place of passion.
LIFNAV, simply asks the age-old question, “How may we help you experience the fullness of life?” Our neighbors respond with three unique Quality of Life Goals and then we work together to achieve their goals. LIFNAV continues the tradition of resourcing the hope of those we love.
And in The Salvation Army way, we continue to evolve our services to best serve our neighbors, leveraging modern technology to create connections, community, and change in the most easily accessible ways possible.
Connections are created through LIFNAV Hospitality Hubs on a street corner. NAV Packs connect us by providing a Smart Phone with 24-hour access to our community through LIFNAV Texting, and the LIFNAV App.
In the spirit of Nashville, we write our songs and our stories together. Already, more than 10,000 journals have been shared across the country…that’s 10,000 new additions to The Salvation Army’s ever continuing and evolving story of “Doing the Most Good.”
“The greatest joy is seeing despair in a person’s eyes fade away as hope brings new light and life,” shares Major Ethan Frizzell. “This is an opportunity to change not only individual lives, but our whole communities’ approach to housing our neighbors.”
Most importantly, LIFNAV gives opportunity for community connections, corps connections, salvation connections…life connections.
Hear the stories of neighbors who’s lives have been changed:
Meet Cyndi and her ESA Sassy,
Cyndi had been on the streets since she was 13 years old. After leaving a home full of trauma and hopelessness, she joined the carnival and was able to make ends meet for years. Then, something unexpected, a stroke, brought it all crashing down.
Cyndi found herself in Nashville and calling its streets her home. Sleeping in a hammock through the hard cold winters, hidden away in the woods forgotten and alone.
Cyndi found a career with the Contributor, and began selling newspapers. She then connected with a LIFNAV coach who walked her through the steps of gaining access to assistance and information she needed to improve her life.
One cold morning in January of 2021, she made a very special journey to The Salvation Army escorted by Metro Nashville Police Officer Johan Kinberg, a member of the Quality of Life team. This journey ended with keys in hand to her new apartment where she and her ESA dog Sassy can live in warmth and safety as they continue their journey to a brighter future. That day, Cyndi walked out to the doors of The Salvation Army with a renewed HOPE and TRUST!
Jay had been on the streets of Nashville on and off for many years. His struggle with addiction to alcohol made it hard for him to be able to function in daily life. Jay had a long relationship with one of our LIFNAV coaches, Tiffany, well before she joined our team. There were many nights when she would find him downtown and had to call an ambulance because he was so intoxicated that people were stepping on and over him as he lay on the sidewalk.
Prayers were answered in the spring of 2021, when through our LIFNAV program, Jay was able to move into a rapid rehousing apartment and begin his journey to a better and brighter future. He began to ease back on his bad coping habits and develop better ones. Most importantly, he was able to re-establish a relationship with his daughter Sam after many years of being an absentee father.
Their relationship was repaired to such a point that she and her husband offered Jay a home with them to further work on his recovery and healing.
Before leaving to journey home with them, he hugged Tiffany and said “Thank you for every time you showed up and loved me. Thank you for the grace you gave me every time I was high. The Salvation Army saved my life and gave me hope in more ways than I can say.”
That day the chapter of despair was closed and the door to renewed HOPE was opened
Eric is a Nashville native who was raised by his mother and grandmother, both of whom were addicts, in MDHA housing. His father had never been in the picture. As a child, his family was evicted and began to live in abandoned homes and on the street.
Eric would eventually get into drugs himself, and battle addiction through-out his adult life. He has slept on park benches in downtown Nashville, and in the corners of The War Memorial.
Eric has been in and out of jail, with a past that was so rough other agencies in town weren’t able to help. Eric has been told by many others that he would never qualify for a section 8 voucher, or an apartment with his arrest record.
When Eric signed up for the LIFNAV program in December of 2020, we promised Eric that if he didn’t give up, we wouldn’t give up either and we would work through everything together.
After 10 months, Eric won over the landlord to a rental property, and the gracious landlord stated “I don’t care that you have felonies, as long as they are not for killing your landlord. You seem to be a respectful man, and you have the backing of The Salvation Army. I will rent to you.” Not only did the landlord rent to him, but he also reduced the rent enough to meet Eric’s budget with his section 8 voucher because he saw the change in Eric.
That day the 22 year wait for a home ended and his new future began.
Gary is a veteran who had been living in encampments for many years. When we meet him, he was depressed and hopeless…wondering how he would find the strength to carry on. He was estranged from his young children in East Tennessee because he didn’t have the resources to go visit them and had recently been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.
Through working with his LIFNAV coach, Gary was able to move into an efficiency apartment. Then he found comfort and companionship with his ESA puppy. Then he built connections with his neighbors, establishing an AA meeting in the parking lot of the complex and once again stepping on to the path of sobriety.
Today, Gary has moved into a senior apartment community, his cancer is in remission, and he has regained custody of his children. Today, Gary has overcome the ghosts of his past and is building a new life for himself and his family.
Major Ethan Frizzell And Mistry Ratcliff, Commander and Development and Communications Manager Respectively, The Salvation Army – Nashville Area Command