Located in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood, the Salvation Army’s Shield of Hope is the nation’s first emergency homeless assessment and rapid-response center (EHARC) to provide families facing homelessness personalized service and support. The shelter has 20 bedrooms with private baths and personal storage, laundry rooms and a cafeteria and offers counseling, support services and life skills training. Families typically stay at the Shield of Hope for up to two weeks.
Provide affordable, technologically advanced and easy-to-manage electronic access control for a non-profit shelter on a strict budget
The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division partnered with the City of Chicago to develop The Shield of Hope shelter to provide families in crisis an assessment, compassionate support and a referral to the program that best meets their immediate needs. The $10 million, 20 bedroom Shield of Hope homeless shelter has 75 beds available on a nightly basis and can accommodate up to 125 beds in emergency shelter situations.
When planning began in 2017, project designers with The Salvation Army and the City of Chicago sought an affordable access control solution that could accommodate the high turnover and varying number of guests. They did not want a mechanical key solution since it would be too difficult to keep track of keys and too expensive to rekey a lock any time a key wasn’t returned or went missing.
SRS Services Group, a Chicago-based SALTO Inspired Business Partner of four years, was commissioned to design the access control solution for the Shield of Hope. Managing Partner John Sawyer, III, said SALTO offered the perfect electronic access control solution that would provide secure access to bedrooms and also help The Shield of Hope maximize interaction with shelter guests.
SRS Services Group, a minority business certified (MBE) by the city of Chicago, outfitted each of the 20 bedrooms in The Shield of Hope shelter with a SALTO XS4 electronic escutcheon. SALTO’s XS4 electronic escutcheons fit virtually any door and provide totally wire-free and networked access control via the SALTO Virtual Network (SVN).
SALTO’S SVN technology allows the stand-alone XS4 locks to read, receive and write information via an encrypted and secure data-on-card system that utilizes the capabilities of RFID read/write technology. In SVN, all access data is stored on and distributed by its operating smartcard or credential. When presenting a credential to an offline stand-alone door, not only does this control access rights to that door but, thanks to two-way communication, the door also writes data – like blacklist information or battery status – back to the smartcard. The smartcard then transmits this information back to the server via online readers that update and receive information from the cards.
Each guest of the Shield of Hope is provided an access card to gain entry into their bedroom. Any time the guest leaves the Shield of Hope property, they leave their access card with the shelter’s administration and when they return, they check in and receive the card again. This process provides an opportunity for Shield of Hope employees to update the card’s access rights and other important data, while also providing the opportunity to check in with shelter guests to ensure they are receiving the services they need.
The Shield of Hope shelter employees manage the system via SALTO’s ProAccess SPACE software. ProAccess SPACE’s web-based design means that any software updates are shared immediately with operator terminals throughout a facility, so there are no worries associated with who has what version of software installed. Plus, by having all operators tied together to the same database, it’s easy to consult the audit trail from any operator terminal as well as make changes to access rights.
“Choosing SALTO XS4 escutcheons to secure The Shield of Hope guest rooms coupled with ProAccess SPACE to manage the system was really the perfect solution for The Salvation Army,” said Sawyer. “We are grateful to have provided an affordable, technologically-advanced electronic access control solution that has been easy to manage so they are able to focus on the important work they do.”
Lt. Colonel Charles Smith, Salvation Army Metropolitan Divisional Commander, said they are very pleased with the security solution from SALTO and SRS Services Group.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to work with SALTO. They worked with us to make sure the families we serve in the new Shield of Hope emergency family shelter would be safe every day. And the SALTO electronic locks provide families facing crisis the safety, dignity and privacy they deserve,” said Smith.