Juli and I visited Lindsey House yesterday for a "Lunch and Learn." This is an amazing place. The residents of this vintage 1920s apartment complex are women who have been rendered suddenly homeless because of crisis. They have children and nowhere to go. It's not a shelter, however. It's a Transitional Living Center, which is actually the name of the organization that gives these women the opportunity to pull themselves up with the help of community volunteers who believe in them. The women are carefully screened for substance abuse and interviewed to make as certain as possible that they are a fit for Lindsey House. The women must pay rent - a percentage of their income, have a high school diploma or be working on their GED, and generally prove that they have a desire to make life better for themselves and their children. Volunteer groups adopt units, furnish and stock them, and connect with the woman and her children who are living in that unit.
There are shelters that serve women (and men) who have substance abuse issues, are victims of domestic violence, or are chronically homeless. There is a great need for these types of shelters, but I was struck by the reality that many women need a place where they can prove themselves. On some level, don't we all? When a woman enters Lindsey House, there are high expectations for her success, but there is also plenty of help to get the women on their way to a better life. They are given budget and financial counseling and are accountable to other women for how they are spending, saving, and planning for the future. They are expected to take care of their apartment and be a member of the Lindsey House community. My guess is that there is a high success rate for these women after they have transitioned out of Lindsey House. When someone believes in us, most of us will rise to meet those expectations. I love this concept and am interested to follow the story of the Transitional Living Center model. If it works (and I have no doubt it does), then we'll see more TLC houses opening up around the Tulsa area, and hopefully around the state.
Check out their website here