Providing Help and Hope for Homeless Women and Children at Open Arms
The face of homelessness in America is changing. Instead of the stereotypical disheveled middle-aged man with a bottle in a bag, the typical homeless person today may be a young woman with a baby in her arms and a toddler at her side.
Single women or families enter Open Arms through a five night crisis shelter program.
After this, guests may choose to join a program called "GROWING." This program requires a commitment from the woman to set reasonable goals toward independent living and to actively pursue those goals. Or, she may choose not to stay at Open Arms.
The name of the program suggests the activities a woman must participate in. After breakfast, each morning begins with devotions. Then there are classes such as Goal Setting, Managing Finances and Job Search. A computerized Learning Center is available to help women improve their computer skills and/or prepare for a GED exam. The women must agree to keep their own personal sleeping area clean, complete a housecleaning chore for the benefit of the shelter and abide by a curfew. At 9:00 pm, after the children have been put to sleep, there is a bible study.
If a woman is willing to take the time and put forth the effort to address the underlying issues that caused her to be homeless, she may choose to enter the long term program called WINGS, which will provide a total stay of one year. During her stay, a woman will have access to additional resources such as addiction recovery classes, individual and group counseling, Growing in Christ discipleship classes and other individualized help. WINGS also is descriptive of the nature and result of the program. Women who complete this program have been given the skills to live an independent and stable lifestyle.
Following completion of the WINGS program, single women may qualify for an additional six month stay in the TRANSITIONS house at 401 W. Mulberry St. Women in the TRANSITIONS program must be active in a church, have a job and transportation. They pay 30% of their income in rent to get ready for living independently. They continue to have responsibilities in the house, and are accountable to the Women's Ministry staff.
Volunteer opportunities are available at Open Arms.
You can give now to provide homeless women and children an opportunity for a whole new life.
Read the story of a former Open Arms resident.