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Innovation and Promising Practices

The Farm at Lotus Village. Credit: Lotus House Women's Shelter

The Farm at Lotus Village: Where Hope Blossoms

Children and families experiencing homelessness are at an extremely disproportionate risk for hunger, malnutrition, dietary inadequacies and the associated health problems of food insecurity and poor nutrition. Lotus House Women’s Shelter, the largest women’s shelter in the state of Florida, conducted a pilot study which confirmed that hunger and food insecurity were normative in the lives of women and children experiencing homelessness prior to entering the shelter. As a result of this study, the shelter incorporated an innovative, climate-controlled, hydroponic urban garden and science lab, called the “Farm”. With an innovative, multifaceted approach, the Farm targets hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition and dietary inadequacies normative in the lives of children and families experiencing homelessness. It provides a high-quality, interactive learning environment for children and families and offers an intimate view of the natural world, deepening their appreciation for the importance of plants and vegetables for healthy bodies and minds. To learn more about the Farm at Lotus House, please visit https://lotushouse.org/the-farm-at-lotus-village/ 

CITATION: “The Farm at Lotus House: Where Hope Blossoms.” Lotus House, 2019. https://lotushouse.org/the-farm-at-lotus-village/.

The Studio at Lotus Village and Lotus Village Voices: Program Overview and Activities Manual

Children experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable and carry with them heavy trauma – not to mention the traumatic experience of homelessness itself. Disadvantages associated with childhood trauma, such as extensive cognitive and behavioral difficulties, make evidence-based, trauma-informed programming all the more critical. Art therapy can be used as a healing tool to address the causes and effects of child and youth homelessness. For children and youth experiencing homelessness, the benefits of arts programming include: stress reduction, mental health wellness and recovery, healed trauma, self expression and self-confidence. As such, the largest women’s shelter in the state of Florida – Lotus House Women’s Shelter – constructed its newest innovation, the “Studio at Lotus Village”, to create an exploratory educational, therapeutic and creative arts program and vodcast for sheltered children and families. To learn more about the implementation of evidence-based programming and the framework for “Studio at Lotus Village”, please visit https://lotushouse.org/lotus-village-voices/.

CITATION: “Lotus Village Voices.” Lotus House, 2021. https://lotushouse.org/lotus-village-voices/.

The Studio at Lotus Village. Credit: Lotus House Women's Shelter

What Works and for Whom?: A Framework for Designing and Implementing Promising Practices Research

Promising practices assure service providers and other organizations that they have the capability to implement comparable programming and activities. To be considered a promising practice, there must be enough evidence to demonstrate the interventions’ proven effectiveness at achieving specific aims which also aligns with the objectives of the program or activity. This manuscript proposes a hierarchy of evidence for promising practices in homelessness research and develops a framework for designing and implementing promising practices in the homelessness sector. For communities that have implemented effective promising practices designed to end or prevent homelessness, it is important to share these initiatives within the homeless sector for the purpose of policy, replication and/or adaptation. To learn more about the framework and evidence needed to implement promising practices to prevent and end homelessness, please visit:  https://www.homelesshub.ca/resource/what-works-and-whom-framework-promising-practices 

CITATION: What Works and For Whom? A Framework for Promising Practices. The Homeless Hub. (n.d.). https://www.homelesshub.ca/resource/what-works-and-whom-framework-promising-practices.

National Health Care for the Homeless Council: Best Practices

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council has provided a range of resources pertaining to best practices in a shelter setting such as assessment & intake, outreach, case management, permanent supportive housing, shelter health and many more. The resources provided span from weblinks for briefs to webinars detailing techniques, strategies, and challenges in the provision of services for people experiencing homlessness. If you are interested in learning more about best practices for service providers, please visit  https://nhchc.org/clinical-practice/homeless-services/best-practices/

CITATION:  “Best Practices.” National Health Care for the Homeless Council. Accessed June 17, 2021. https://nhchc.org/clinical-practice/homeless-services/best-practices/.