Transitional housing is a residency program that includes support services such as advocacy, child care and job assistance. Transitional housing is usually provided after a crisis, and residents can stay in the program from six months to two years. In the case of domestic violence victims, transitional housing is the step between emergency shelters and permanent housing. Residents are required to establish goals, meet program requirements (such as confidentiality, in the case of Lydia’s House) and work towards self-sufficiency.
The greatest strength of supportive transitional housing is its potential to meet the individual needs of women over an extended period of time, maximizing the likelihood of women successfully meeting their own goals. The combination of a safe home and supportive services, provided by staff in the context of a respectful and flexible relationship, results in women feeling that they have the ability to get back on their feet.
The advocates at Lydia’s House provide the residents with guidance, case management, mentoring and role modeling, and they facilitate better outcomes with systems and service providers in order to help each woman create personal order for herself and her children. Along with one-on-one advocacy, participating in Lydia’s House support groups, skills building classes, recreation, and sharing and celebrating accomplishments with one another offers residents the opportunity to recognize and appreciate their strengths and abilities. Approximately 85% of the women who stay a year or more are able to accomplish goals such as retire old debts, secure employment, buy a car and/or rent a home by the time they leave Lydia’s House.
Lydia’s House is the only program in the St. Louis metropolitan area providing confidentially located, long-term, stationery transitional housing specifically for battered women and their children. The over-arching goal of the Lydia’s House transitional housing program is to help battered and abused women gain the skills and resources necessary for obtaining and sustaining permanent housing and for living independently as individuals and/or as parents. Lydia’s House provides that critically needed additional time (up to 24 months) in confidentially located, fully furnished apartments, thereby creating space at the emergency shelters for more domestic violence victims in immediate danger.