Job description: Community Leader at Emmaus South Lambeth
Areas of interest: Housing and homelessness – services for women with complex needs
Lorna Haw's Recent Activity
"Emmaus is a worldwide charity, with communities where homeless people can live and work to rebuild their lives. We take both women and men, although the number of women is normally fairly low, corresponding to the ratios of rough sleepers in London, from where our referrals mostly come. We provide a supportive envronment to help our clients (known as Companions) overcome the difficulties that led to their becoming homeless. We have a cohort of 27 in our residence, and in five years have accommodated 120 people, so our stastics are not necessarily relevant to the larger picture of women with drugs and alcohol problems. The most important factor I have found in working with any of our clients, is to get to the bottom of the psychological reasons for their problems (duh, but then not all people "outside" realise that mental health is the biggest factor in homelessness, not the lack of somewhere to live) and getting people into counselling or some form of therapy is the most critical step we can achieve. however this has had to be done through private counsellors for the most part, as the NHS mental health services are hugely overloaded and the provision is not sufficient for someone with complex needs. We don't treat women differently in our Community, but their presence has a very civilising influence on the male residents. They all support one another, but the men are protective towards the women, and helps both build trust. We take only low support needs, so I don't normally have anyone who has been through multiple traumas, although we have had a woman fleeing from domestic violence from her mother. I am interested in other people's experience of working with women, particularly women who drink, as I find that my women clients who drink won't admit it to themselves, let alone to anyone else."
Reply To: Substance use: helping women with drug and alcohol problems