The rooms we have described thus far on our virtual tour can be found in any residence. But now we bring you to the rooms that distinguish the drop-in center from an ordinary home. These are offices in which women can access additional services beyond food and supplies. Memphis has many excellent non-profit organizations that meet various needs, and our strategy has always been to collaborate with those services to assist our women. For example, we have taken some of our women for health screenings with the Shelby County Health Department, and we recently worked with Baptist Women’s Health Services to provide mobile mammography services. We have helped some of the obtain identification because that is a basic need for obtaining housing and legitimate employment. Some of the women have asked for help with addiction, and we have assisted them with placement in a recovery program. Our program is already much more than meals and supplies delivered on Thursday nights.
Although we can continue to feed our women in a parking lot and connect them with local services as they request it, we will be able to coordinate these efforts more consistently with the center as our hub of operations. Visiting health care workers will provide some basic services onsite, with referrals to clinical services as needed. We will also have a social worker to assess each woman’s situation and recommend the services she needs. Although our women have much in common, each one is an individual and should be treated as such. Most important, since our program is based on trauma-informed care principles, our staff and volunteers will all operate from those principles.
You see, we believe it would be irresponsible of us to meet only the immediate physical needs of our women without also offering them a way to process the underlying cause of their circumstances. We contend that women do not choose to be homeless and hungry, to neglect their health, to become addicted, to sell their bodies, unless that is the only choice they can see. The path to life on the streets almost always begins with trauma, and sadly, that life exposes our women to additional trauma. Unless they are given the opportunity to break that cycle, they will never find the road to healing. So we will provide onsite opportunities for those who are ready to leave the streets to access professional services that will assist them in that process.
Will you pray with us that the God whose Son came to heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds will provide a suitable place for our women to meet with trained professionals who can help them begin to process through the trauma in their past so that they may find hope and healing?