Our Programs Include:
Since the 1980’s, studies have indicated that gender-specific programming is critical to effective outcomes for women. Rather than designing programs on a ‘one size fits all basis’ with research based on studies of the male homeless population, a more gender specific focus is now being recognized as appropriate to address the special needs of women.
Programs, like ours, that adopt a non-institutional approach to homeless services have been found to be the most successful in reaching, engaging and changing the lives of homeless women. They focus on the importance of a warm, casual, non-institutional environment to engage the homeless into services. They rely on self-help and self-empowerment. They often emphasize on engaging and mobilizing women’s strengths while empowering them.
A supportive environment, caring staff, and flexible structure is crucial to engaging women who have a more complex history with victimization, fear, distrust of others and mental health problems. This type of environment encourages community and involvement and fosters respect in showing that the staff and volunteers value the client’s opinions, feelings, and desires. Comprehensive services and treatment must be based on understanding the context and needs of women’s daily lives. Such services:
- Identify and build on women’s strengths
- Avoid confrontational approaches
- Teach coping strategies, based on women’s experiences, with a willingness to explore women’s individual appraisals of stressful situations
- Arrange for the daily needs of women, such as childcare
- Have a strong female presence on staff
- Promote bonding among women