Everyone needs safe, decent, stable housing. For some of our most vulnerable clients with safety concerns, the need for confidential housing to get back on her feet to independence is critical. At Genesis, we’re proud of our ability to support women in our transitional housing program, Annie’s House, for up to a year. Each woman is designated a fully-furnished apartment with a kitchen, private bedroom and bath. Families that enter Annie’s House are given bedding, pots and pans, utensils, plates, and all the necessities to get them started. Families and clients are able to continue eating in our shelter kitchen for the first week until they are settled. Once an Annie’s House client is moved in, she is then responsible for getting her own food and other needed items on her own.
Annie’s House programming is designed in a way that allows for empowerment and a pathway to independence. Individuals residing in our supportive Living community receive the assistance they need in an environment that strongly promotes personal control, independence and dignity.
The core set of service principles that guide our work are:
Emphasis on Choice
Supportive housing maximizes client choice in the services they receive. Since all of our clients come from an abuser who has maintained power and control in her life, we strive to encourage clients to make their own decisions that are best for them. For instance, clients can generally come and go as they please and have control over their daily schedule, like mealtimes and work. They also can direct the types of services they receive and the goals they set with the service provider. At Genesis, we prefer to give options because we acknowledge that clients are the experts in their lives.
Clients are asked to pay their electricity bill each month. This helps her get into a routine of paying bills and budgeting to ensure that she is learning the skills needed to maintain a household on her own outside of Genesis.
Clients are asked to attend a minimum of four groups per month. We offer groups covering various topics including: life skills, DV 101 (an introduction to domestic violence), coping skills, financial empowerment and self-care. All Annie’s House clients are offered counseling on-site to facilitate the healing process. Guest speakers are also encouraged to share practical information pertaining to helping our ladies grow toward self-sufficiency.
A typical day for an Annie’s House client includes:
- Waking up around 5:00 a.m. to get herself ready for work and her children ready for school. Make breakfast and drop the children off.
- Either drive or ride the DART bus to work or school. After work, she might get a money order to deposit a percentage of her check into savings.
- Return to Annie’s House to pick up her children from our after-school daycare program. Once she is back on campus from work or school, she will provide her children with dinner.
- In the evening, she will most likely meet with her advocate. During these advocacy meetings, the client reviews her goals and tracks progress. If she is having any issues or needs assistance in meeting these goals, the advocate will offer guidance. Our advocates connect clients with community resources and programs designed to maximize their goals. For example, if a client is working on finding a better paying job, the advocate might offer a referral to a program that gives job training resources, professional attire and workshops for resumes; or, the advocate may sit down with the client to work on building an appropriate resume.
- If the client has already met with an advocate, she might attend a counseling session or group. Children’s groups are also offered.
- Once the children are settled into bed, she may begin researching permanent housing options.
As you can see, our clients have full plates! Our Residential staff love that we have the opportunity to enrich our clients’ lives and walk beside them on their journey towards hope and healing.
Written by Nicole Head, assistant director of residential services at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support