Local program helps homeless women

February 8, 2009 6:02:55 AM PST
A program headquartered in East Harlem has a special mission. The Center for Urban Community Services helps homeless and low-income women get into homes and provides them with basic tools to live healthy lives. The program director, Linda Ricciardi and recent graduate, Michelle Ponist, joined us. What is 350 TLC?
· The 350 TLC program helps homeless and low income women get into homes, and provides them with the basic tools to live healthy lives. It is a 4-6 month program in which during this time the women are offered medical, wellness and psychiatric counseling. Once they graduate from this program, CUCS still maintains contact with financial and career counseling and resources to help the women successfully integrate into the community.
· 350 TLC was the first shelter in the city of NY that provided social service program geared at finding and achieving housing socials for homeless women with chronic mental illnesses.
· 350 is one of the most successful programs in the NYC shelter system in finding supportive housing and maintain this special population in housing enjoying successful lives again.

What kinds of Services are Offered to the 350TLC Population?
· Outreach/Referral
· Assessment and Service Planning
· Comprehensive on-site Case Management
· Group or Classroom Activates
· Wellness Self Management
· Psychiatric treatment
· Medical treatment
· Living Skills Training
· Housing Placement
· Post placement follow-up services

How Many Women Does 350 TLC Place into Permanent Housing, Annually?
· 350 helps place 65 homeless women annually on average · Socials workers, doctors and the resident community of 350 offer these women the opportunity to heal and be reborn with compassion and dignity.

What Is Wellness Self Management?
· 350 was the first shelter in NYC to introduce Wellness Self Management (WSM) to the homeless and mentally ill population.
· WSM is based on scientific research that has shown that people who receive this type of counseling and teaching recover quicker and regain more effective control over their well being and health. The women are empowered to better manage their recovery. Additionally, it helps maintain their stability, keeps them out of hospitals longer, it raises the person's self-esteem, and it teaches them to identify and actualize personal goals.

Given the current economic climate, what are some challenges that lie ahead?
· Now, when there is an economic crisis and many programs are losing their funding. it is important to maintain a social program that works not only with compassion. but also consistently evaluates the effectiveness of the work in measurable goals. Providers are asked to demonstrate that the services offered are actually assisting the clients to move forward.

About Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS)
Headquartered In East Harlem in New York City, CUCS is the nation's largest provider of social services in supportive housing as well as a comprehensive human services agency that implements new practices, actively shares its knowledge and assists in shaping local, state and national strategies so that persons who are homeless, low-income, living with mental illness or have other special needs can live successfully in the community.

For more information, visit www.cucs.org.