On The Rise fills the vital need for trauma-informed homeless services that provide supportive relationships that persist with women over time and across issues as she moves to new levels of self-efficacy and stability. Once they are in housing, many women continue to need the support from On The Rise. Particularly as local and State efforts have shifted from emergency shelter to Housing First (i.e. lowering the barriers for people with mental illness, active addictions or other issues to secure housing), the need has increased for home visits and support groups to help women who are struggling with isolation and depression in their new apartment.
Safe Haven: Our day-time community is open six days per week and is located in a dignified home, a welcoming non-institutional setting that affirms our esteem for the people within it and provides the safety, relationships and resources for surviving day-to-day and reaching long-term goals. In 2016, On The Rise served a total of 449 homeless women – more women than ever in our 21-year history. We saw an 18% increase in Safe Haven visits in 2016 compared with the previous year. An average of 30 women visited each day in our Safe Haven, and accessed tangible essentials for survival and all the amenities of a dignified home—safety, breakfast, lunch, phones, an address to get mail, showers, clothes, quiet space, laundry, storage, and more.
On Site Accompaniment & Advocacy: Building on their personal relationships with individual women, On The Rise staff worked intensively last year with over 350 women—taking them to appointments, connecting them with other targeted services, advocating for them, and helping them balance competing priorities, follow-through on their plans, persevere through set-backs, and celebrate successes. With On The Rise’s support, these women were able to improve self-sufficiency and resolve one or more of the challenges at the crux of their homelessness—such as moving out of an abusive household, staying on a medication treatment program, accessing health care, getting sober, bringing charges against an abuser, or clearing up an outstanding warrant.
Keep The Keys: Ultimately, On The Rise also works with many women to secure the means and to find an apartment of their own. While their housing status has changed, the women are still themselves and are consistently challenged by the aftermath of their traumatic histories. Physical and mental health conditions, substance use and addiction, destructive relationships, difficulty controlling anger, legal difficulties, poverty, personal isolation, and other chronic issues continue to threaten their well-being - and their housing stabilization - long after they have found homes. The Keep The Keys Program is offered to all women from On The Rise’s Safe Haven Program for homeless women who have secured housing in Greater Boston. We support them throughout the entire process – from searching for apartments, to moving in and learning the independent living skills they need to sustain their housing. It is staffed by two Community Advocates, managed by our Director of Programs, and operates year-round, offering the following services:
- Liaison with property managers and/or landlords.
- Move-in support, including help accessing furniture banks, moving resources, and soliciting donations of household items from business and community groups
- “Our Place” is a weekly support group focusing on the challenges and triumphs of transitioning to a new home. The advocates host an additional “Our Place” support group in Lynn, MA to provide a convenient location for many housed women.
- Support, referrals, accompaniment and advocacy to facilitate access and participation in specialized programs for specific challenges (like histories of abuse, addiction, mental illness, legal issues, education, job training, and parenting).
- Home visits and accompaniment to stores, community centers, and other resources near new home.
- Emergency funds for utilities or rent when necessary to avoid eviction.
- A weekly food bank for the housed women to collect necessities.