On Thursday, June 18, the Downtown Women’s Center hosted the second 1-in-4 Southern California Regional Convening.
Fueled by a passionate commitment to end homelessness among women and delicious eats from Good Shepherd Center’s The Village Kitchen, more than 30 individuals participated in an animated and inspiring conversation.
DWC’s Chief Program Officer Amy Turk opened the day, sharing a list of promising, best, and evidence-based practices put together by the Best Practices Working Group, jump starting a discussion about what best practices are most effective for women and what resources are needed to ensure that all organizations serving women are employing these proven solutions.
The importance of tools like Seeking Safety, Trauma Informed Care, and Motivational Interviewing were highlighted – as were less tangible but equally important ideas of compassion and cultural humility. We also recognized the divergent needs of emerging populations of young adult women and those of older women. The consensus was clear that we need individualized services driven by the needs of the consumer, and it is essential to engage and empower each woman in defining her own needs and the services to best meet them.
Trauma-informed care is about asking "What happened to you?" vs "What's wrong with you?" #1in4LA— DowntownWomensCenter (@DWCweb) June 18, 2015
Co-Chaired by Drs. Sofia Herrera of Urban Initiatives and Suzanne Wenzel of USC’s School of Social Work, the Research Working Group has defined its purpose in identifying a research agenda structured around philosophies of housing first and integrated care that will enhance services to homeless women and support advocacy efforts on behalf of this population.
Let's expose the myth that there is housing for all. There are not enough units in LA to house our homeless sisters and brothers. #1in4LA— DowntownWomensCenter (@DWCweb) June 18, 2015
Sense of belonging changes over a woman's lifetime, making homeless women more vulnerable as they move into their older years. #1in4LA— Melissa Bird (@birdgirl1001) June 18, 2015
Operationalizing the concept of a sense of belonging is a central focus for this group, as is creating a collaborative relationship among researchers looking at homeless women, so that resources and findings can be shared. We reviewed existing research on the social relationships and goals of women moving into housing – education and establishing/re-establishing relationships with children and grandchildren. Additional research questions posed by the group included:
- How do we ensure housing parity for women with our current assessment/entry systems?
- What community support resources exist for housing?
- What types of housing works best for whom?
- Is there any data on the cost savings specifically related to housing women?
- We are far short of the affordable housing we need, particularly for the most vulnerable homeless women – so how do we scale housing in our community?
Given the intersectionality of homelessness with domestic violence, involvement with the criminal justice system, race, class, and many other factors, the Advocacy Working Group led a discussion focused on how to engage 1-in-4 with other successful movements to promote awareness and visibility on the issue of women’s homelessness. We want to develop common messaging, build a social media campaign, and participate in as many community meetings and conversations as possible. Incorporating the voices of the women we serve is essential to our success.
Homeless women are so important that we are going to keep constantly making the connections so that decision makers take notice. #1in4LA— Melissa Bird (@birdgirl1001) June 18, 2015
The 1-in-4 movement is part of a national effort to raise awareness and resources for the estimated 25% of homeless individuals who are single adult women.
We are seeking to elevate the voices of those who want to end homelessness among women to create a true systems-change movement, because we believe that when women thrive, whole communities thrive. Join us!
Questions? Send them here.