Women Served by Crossroads for Women
The women at Crossroads for Women are homeless and suffering from mental illness and substance addictions. They are survivors of childhood sexual and physical abuse and are frequent victims of domestic violence and recurring trauma on the streets. Most come from an impoverished, abusive, and substance using family background and have not learned the life skills needed for community living. They have typically acquired a criminal history making it difficulty for them to obtain housing and employment. Without intervention, the women cycle between homelessness and incarceration and their children are at a high risk for a generational cycle of mental illness, homelessness, and criminal activity.
Although challenged by many barriers, the women also come to Crossroads for Women with many strengths. They are most often resilient, resourceful, and interested in helping others, particularly women in similar circumstances. They are open to learning, responding positively to therapy, are very determined to make progress. Recognizing and building upon these and other client strengths is a fundamental philosophy of Crossroads for Women.
Crossroads for Women offers women an opportunity to change the direction of their lives. Whether coming from homelessness or incarceration, women at Crossroads are provided housing and wrap around support services designed to achieve a healthy, stable, and self-sufficient life in the community. Crossroads strives to provide a safe and nurturing environment where women have the foundation of support and safety needed to address the issues impacting their lives. At Crossroads, each woman identifies her own goals and participates in the creation of a service plan designed to assist her in achieving those goals. Services continue to be individualized and client driven, giving the women control over their own future. The Crossroads provides support during times of crisis, including relapse, while assisting participants to gain the skills needed to independently address crisis in their lives. In this way, the Crossroads strives to retain participants in treatment until their sobriety and stability in the community is solid and they have gained the skills needed to sustain their recovery.
The road from life on the streets to a stable life in the community is a long and hard one. Crossroads is there each step of the way. Crossroads offers:
- Four week of life skills education and reintegration asssistance on the treatment unit of the Metropolitan Detention Center
- Six months of highly structured treatment at Maya’s Place, a congregate living program for women released from jail or prison
- Two years of supportive housing in the community at the Crossroads for women graduating from Maya’s Place or coming directly from the streets
- Continuing care services to maintain stability in the community after completion of the supportive housing program
Through these services, Crossroads makes a long term commitment to each woman in the program.
The Crossroads community based program serves homeless women with co-occurring mental illness and substance addiction. Prior to entry into the program, they have been living in their vehicles, in homeless shelters or directly on the streets. Because of their unstable lifestyle, they frequently cannot or do not access regular psychiatric care and medication and turn to substance abuse to self-medicate. They often seek health care only on an emergent basis and suffer from a number of chronic health conditions. They frequently struggle with cognitive impairments as a result of their substance use and history of trauma. The instability of being homeless combined with a lack of education or work experience makes it almost impossible for them to gain employment or maintain employment long enough to save the necessary money for getting an apartment. Their struggle for survival and untreated mental health and substance disorders frequently causes them to cycle between homelessness and incarceration. Many of them have children with them who are at risk for entering the same lifestyle.
The Crossroads community based program begins with the provision of safe and stable housing in the community. Individual apartment units are utilized so that housing can be located near work, children’s schools, needed bus lines or available support systems. Individual apartments also provide the opportunity for women to remain in the apartment after completion of the program thereby avoiding a destabilizing transition.
Support services at the Crossroads are client driven with each participant working with her comprehensive community support worker/case manager and other team members to identify her individual goals and strengths. Intensive wrap around services are designed to support the participants progree toward her self-identified goals. Support services include intensive comprehensive community support services/case management (case manager case loads are limited to 10 women and their children), group and individual counseling, including trauma based recovery groups, substance abuse treatment, parenting, and vocational skill building and assistance, life skills education and positive social activities. Through case management, clients are connected to psychiatric and medical care, any benefits for which they qualify, and other needed services. Services are highly individualized, but most women unless on or eligible for disability will be expected to work or attend school after an initial period of stabilization.
Many of the women have children in their custody. The family specialist works closely with the mother and collaborating agencies to coordinate services for the children. A vocational specialist also works individually with each client to assist in locating employment or enrolling in school or vocational training programs.
The Crossroads has a 24 hour crisis line with a rotating on call schedule and an independently licensed professional available for crisis intervention.
The length of stay in the program is expected to be approximately 2 years. Discharge planning, including the location of permanent housing, is begun early in the process so that any ongoing needed supports are in place by the time of discharge. One of those ongoing supports may be the continuing care program provided by the Crossroads. This includes long term case management, crisis intervention, and group activities.
Maya’s Place – Congregate Living Site
Maya’s Place serves homeless women with co-occurring mental health and substance disorders who are transitioning from jail or prison back into the community. Released women are expected to comply with conditions of probation or parole, achieve financial stability, access health care, attempt to reunite with their families, obtain employment, find safe and drug free housing, and in many cases, mantain recovery from addiction and mental illness. However, most women find themselves either homeless or in dangerous environments and without support. Many of the systems designed to assist individuals get back on their feet exclude those with criminal records. The women have little education or job experience and now have a criminal record impacting their ability to find work or housing. Without needed support they are drawn back into a life of criminal activity for survival which then leads back to substance abuse.
Maya’s Place offers an alternative to repeated incarceration. Work begins in the local jail where Crossroads for Women staff provide life skills education classes on the treatment unit of the detention facility. In this way, women on the unit can become familiar with the program and program staff before release, thereby decreasing the anxiety of transitioning from jail to the program.
Women enter Maya’s Place directly from jail or prison. Maya’s Place also can serve as an alternative to incarceration.
Housing is provided in a congregate living site comprised of two fourplexes located at Grove and Southern in the southeast heights. Clinical staff provides on-site supervision during extended business hours. A resident property manager lives on site for night and weekend oversight. The property does not permit accomodation of children on site. However, work begins here on reunification and children are frequently on site for visits.
Highly structured programming provided on site encompasses life skills, substance abuse treatment, parenting, vocational skills, mental health education, and various therapy groups including trauma based recovery. Comprehensive community support services (case management) assist the women in accessing medical and dental care, psychiatry, and other community resources as needed.
Maya’s Place is a six month program. Program structure includes increasing independence as program goals are achieved. After three months focused exclusively on treatment, non-disability eligible participants are expected to obtain employment or enter vocational or educational programming.
Discharge planning begins at the outset of the program with a focus on establishing the supports needed to maintain the progress made while at Maya’s Place on into community living. Discharge planning includes referral to The Crossroads community based program when appropriate, to other programs as needed, or to independent living.