Safe Haven, for women only
Trauma Informed, Gender Specific Solutions for Women
Since opening our doors in March 2006, Lotus House has listened with love to the cries of countless women experiencing homelessness, their struggles, and their hopes and dreams for a better way of life. We understand that their experience of homelessness is uniquely gender-specific, exacerbated by physical vulnerability, mental health issues and complex layers of trauma. We know that violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and normative in their lives, often intimate and for many since childhood. We know their experience of homelessness is frightening, traumatic, and women are easy prey. Homeless women are in need of a safe haven and their lives are at stake. We offer a trauma-informed sanctuary, sensitive to the gender specific, special needs of women and the traumas they have experienced, giving them time to heal, counseling and support services that make healing possible, education, empowerment, and the opportunity to truly break the cycle of homelessness. Our Safe Haven program welcomes women with special needs of all ages, including lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, experiencing homelessness. By special needs, we mean women who are: victims of abuse, violence, trafficking and other serious traumas; medically fragile; suffering from mental health issues; developmentally delayed or challenged; and/or elderly and unable to access family supports.
Children & Families
Lotus House is committed to providing child and family centered services that promote trauma resolution in both children and mothers. Families benefit from evidence-based child therapy, dyadic parent/child therapy and parenting education to build the foundation for a safe, secure and better way of life. In a supportive and nurturing environment, our families are afforded a safe haven and an opportunity to learn and grow on every level. Mothers and babies receive much needed supplies like formula, diapers, blankets, and maternity and infant clothing. Our shared apartments include cribs, changing tables, kitchens equipped with child safety features, and toys. Lush gardens and a “baby and me” play center offer children and moms alike a safe environment in which to bond, play and find peace together. In addition to free shelter, clothing, and nourishing meals, we provide coordinated, multi-faceted, wrap-around support services, arranging pre-natal care, birthing and parenting classes, access to life saving medications, infant mental health screening, and medical and mental health treatment. Counselors serve as advocates to ensure every family receives social services and benefits essential to their new start to happy and healthy lives. Our job readiness training programs and employment specialist assist mothers in re-entering the work world after babies are born, learning how to juggle their new roles, and saving their nest egg for their future transition to permanent homes.
Homeless youth are particularly vulnerable and face tragic consequences if they do not receive the services and interventions they need. They are at a higher risk for further physical and sexual assault or abuse, physical illness including HIV/AIDS, anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug abuse, suicide, and becoming involved in prostitution. An estimated 5,000 unaccompanied homeless youth die each year as a result of assault, illness or suicide. Adolescent women are among the most vulnerable and medically underserved groups of homeless individuals. Homeless female youth are at a high risk for early pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV due to poor access to health care, survival sex (trading sex for basic needs such as housing and food), substance abuse and other challenges.
Homeless youth have multiple special needs—such as mental and physical health needs, substance abuse, and lack of self-sufficiency skills and sustainable financial resources—requiring multiple levels of intervention and support. Homelessness, with its instability and associated traumas, often disrupts schooling and makes finishing high school very challenging, even though school is a lifeline for many.
Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique
Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique is a “real world,” working retail classroom staffed entirely by Lotus House guests and alumni. Our Retail Job Training program offers our interns hands-on vocational training in the retail business, and an opportunity to learn about every aspect of operations of a retail store, including marketing and sales strategies, money-handling and cash register skills, receiving and displaying merchandise, sorting and storing inventory/donations, and developing customer service skills.
Since opening its doors, Lotus House has welcomed homeless LBTQ women and youth, many of whom have suffered traumas and homelessness due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Lotus House accommodations and holistic services are designed to afford homeless LGBTQ adults and youth a safe, supportive and nurturing environment for body, mind and spirit to allow them to heal, grow and blossom into who they are truly meant to be. In addition to shelter, meals, clothing, educational assistance, job readiness training, access to specialized health care and mental health treatment, each LGBTQ participant is provided with personalized, individual counseling tailored to her/his unique issues and challenges, in addition to discovering the support of peers and allies in Rainbow Lotus support groups. Psychosocial education, field trips, social activities, linkages and community engagement are also important components of our Rainbow Lotus Program. Based on principles of education and empowerment, Lotus House is committed to providing a dedicated, trauma informed and LGBTQ sensitive safe haven that honors the divine nature of all individuals, including adults, youth and children, with unconditional love.