Sheltering 1,550+ women, youth and children annually, Lotus House is the largest shelter for women and children in the country. We provide shelter, resources, and multi-faceted, comprehensive supportive services to help our guests successfully exit the shelter system and lead lives of greater opportunity.
Women and Children are the fastest growing population experiencing homelessness in the country
Our mission at Lotus House is to improve the lives of women, youth and children experiencing homelessness by providing sanctuary, support, education, tools and resources that empower them to improve the quality of their lives on every level, achieve greater self sufficiency, and build safe, secure lives. If their dreams come true, we enrich our community with the fruit of their potential realized.
To support our mission, we advocate on behalf of women, youth and children experiencing homelessness to raise awareness of their special needs; inspire innovative, holistic solutions that truly break the cycle of childhood abuse, domestic violence and homelessness; and advance service driven research and enlightened public and social policies for greater understanding, social inclusion and resources for women and children experiencing homelessness.
Our vision is that every woman, youth and child experiencing homelessness will have the opportunity to heal, learn and grow, build the foundation for a brighter future, and blossom into who they are truly meant to be.
Children & Families
Trauma in families and children has a definite cost that can be life long. Homelessness itself is another layer of trauma for mothers and children, and yet, there is hope. The latest research indicates that it is possible to break the cycle of childhood abuse, domestic violence and homelessness with life changing support, tools, education and resources that heal broken bodies, minds and spirits. Mothers provided with evidence-based trauma resolution therapy and strong supportive parenting skills can positively impact everything from their child’s chances of high school graduation to their long term health and wellness and success in the work force as adults. Lotus House is committed to providing child and family centered services that promote trauma resolution in both children and mothers. In holistic child and family centered programming and support services, Lotus House helps these special women and their children emerge from the shadows, give voice to their dreams and aspirations, and become who they are meant to be.
Imagine you are 17 or 18 years old and alone, homeless, desperate to finish high school, with no family support and nowhere to turn. Our homeless high school youth know all too well. Nearly all of the unaccompanied, homeless youth at Lotus House have survived severe trauma in their short lives, including abuse, neglect and untimely loss of parents and caretakers, among others. And yet, with the holistic support system of Lotus House and education as their lifelines, they are still full of youthful hopes and dreams of a better future, college, the service or employment and a career.
Safe Haven – For Women Only
Women young and old, who are homeless and alone, survive by being invisible. Staying awake through the night out of fear, they sleep on buses and in airports, hospitals, abandoned buildings, backyards and alleyways in a desperate attempt to find shelter each night without being detected. Physically vulnerable, homeless women and female youth are at heightened risk of sexual assault, human trafficking and violence in its many forms. Not only is the experience of homelessness by women gender specific, so too are many of the reasons they experience homelessness. The overwhelming majority of the women we serve at Lotus House are victims of physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, trafficking, violent crime or other severe traumas. Women fleeing domestic violence and other forms of abuse are forced to give up homes, jobs, support systems and more to escape, too often only to find themselves at equal or greater risk of danger in homeless shelters and on the street.
Health and Wellness Programming
Basic medical, dental and eye care, as well as mental health treatment, are an urgent priority for every woman and child who enters Lotus House. Lack of affordable mental health care and medical services are among the most critical issues to be addressed in truly breaking the cycle of homelessness. Virtually all of the women accepted into Lotus House suffer from untreated medical conditions, mental health issues, or both upon entry. In some cases, such as those suffering from cancer or other severe medical conditions requiring prolonged treatment, medical issues are the principal reason for homelessness. In addition to offering basic health and mental health care, evidence-based and trauma-informed counseling,
and education, our programming embraces alternative therapies and pathways to healing, health and wellbeing.
Lotus House Holistic Programming utilizes the healing arts to create alternative pathways to wholeness for women, youth and children whose lives have been marked by trauma. Our guests benefit from holistic programming classes scheduled daily, engaging all ages in therapeutic activities aimed at creative expression through the arts, exercise, yoga, dance and movement, fieldtrips and a wide range of activities. The bond created between mother and child during play, is one that allows for healing and strengthened relationships. Our programming rooms were created with mom and child in mind, offering them spaces and activities that will help them heal, grown and learn together.
Employment & Education Program
Lotus House is dedicated to the support, education advancement, and social inclusion of women and youth by providing the tools and resources needed for our sheltered guests to achieve greater self-sufficiency through basic life skills, education programs and job-readiness programs.
Our Basic Life Skills program prepares women and youth at Lotus House to live independently through group and individual coaching that include financial literacy, basic computer and keyboard skills, navigation of the transportation system, basic civics education and voter registration, and developing effective communication skills. Our Education Program allows women and youth to further their education and employment goals, and improve the quality of their lives through varying educational supports such as tutoring, basic supplies, college counseling and more. Our job readiness training program supports, uplifts, and empowers the women and youth at Lotus House to achieve greater financial self-
sufficiency. Our programs are designed to provide them with access to the tools and resources they need to secure full or part-time employment and become economically independent.
Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation Children’s Wellness Center
We know that babies have the capacity to learn and experience feelings from birth. During infancy and early childhood, children develop their capacity for trust, self-esteem, conscience, empathy, problem solving, focused learning and self-control. It is a time of intense growth and development in all areas, including a child’s intellectual, social and emotional development, laying the foundation for their success in school and later life. When their needs are met by positive and consistent early experiences with loving caregivers and nurturing environments, babies and young children thrive. We have an opportunity to mend broken bonds and the trauma leading to homelessness with an inclusive, welcoming sanctuary designed to heal. An understanding of these fundamental principles of childhood development and promoting healthy social and emotional development of infants and young children is at the core of the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation Children’s Wellness Center and throughout the Village in ways that truly place children first.
LGBTQIA+ youth are disproportionately represented in the population of homeless youth – 20 to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQIA+; 26% of LGBTQIA+ youth are thrown out by parents when they come out to them; LGBTQIA+ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide, suffer depression four to five times more severely.
Homeless LGBTQIA+ individuals of all ages need trauma informed shelter and support services sensitive to their special needs. Based on principles of education and empowerment, Lotus House is committed to providing a trauma-informed, LGBTQIA+-sensitive sanctuary honoring the divine nature of all individuals, including adults, youth and children, with unconditional love.