If you aren't familiar with the incredible services Catherine House offer to vulnerable women in Adelaide, you should be.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to visit Catherine House and discover what an amazing organisation they actually are. Up until then I was under the impression that they operated much like any other emergency accommodation provider in South Australia - I was wrong.
Through recovery-oriented interventions, we work in partnership with women, creating opportunities to build a solid foundation, greater personal well-being, social and economic participation and a meaningful and satisfying life.
Catherine House provides support accommodation services to women experiencing homelessness in South Australia, who are 18 years and older, and unaccompanied by children.
Catherine House Inc was founded in 1988, as a partnership between the Sisters of Mercy, SA Housing Trust and the Adelaide City Council, to address an unmet service need for women experiencing homelessness.
In the subsequent thirty years the organisation has both grown and refined its model, and is now recognised as Adelaide's only recovery based service for women experiencing homelessness. We believe that every woman is a woman of potential, with capacity and capability, and the right to the choices that lead to a dignified life.
Their recovery model includes two mental health programs, as well as large numbers of in reach services from Government and private providers, ensuring that each woman has the opportunity to link with the services she needs to recover from the issues that brought her into homelessness.
Key to their success is their education services which develop not only practical skills such as literacy and numeracy, job seeking, but also a self-development course that helps woman who have experienced trauma to rediscover their voice, learn how to make good decisions for themselves, and make plans for their future.
But what services do they actually provide?
Across the organisation, they accommodate 48 woman on a nightly basis.
There are currently 16 beds which service adult women unaccompanied by children. Woman can stay up to three months in this program, and during this they have a Case Worker who works intensively with them to help find an accommodation outcome, as well as link them with all the services that they need to recover from the issues that brought her to homelessness.
This is a program for women with a mental health diagnosis from which they can recover and live in the community. Women can stay up to 18 months, starting initially in group accommodation, then once they have developed the skills to manage their own symptoms and manage a tenancy, they move into individual accommodation (still within the program), before they are assisted to find a suitable tenancy in the community.
Permanent Supported Accommodation Program:
This is a 12 bed unit for women with permanent psychosocial disability. Many of these women are living with voices and hallucinations every day, and have never lived independently in the community. Women can stay as long as they like, the focus is on a stable supported and calming environment.
How to help:
There are many ways to directly assist Catherine House:
Donate to Pup and Girl run to Melbourne here.
Donate to directly to Catherine House here.
Organise a workplace fundraiser like a causal day/cupcake day/morning tea.
Volunteer your time - try this link.
Donate essentials like shampoo & conditioner, soap, sanitary napkins & tampons, deodorant, (new) Pjs, bras and underpants, socks, slippers.
And spread the word, let everyone you know about the increasingly important work that Catherine House is doing...because they really are providing solutions that change lives!
There are 10-15 calls every day from women who need a safe place like Catherine House - there is a waiting list of up to 25 - 30 women in crisis - there is a wait time of at least a month....with extra funds Catherine House can add another 4 beds to their Emergency Program - what a breathtakingly worthy cause.