“I thought the Catherine McAuley Center was just a place to stay. But they gave me the most important thing, and that is hope. I finally feel secure. I feel stronger. I’m learning the skills to be successful.”
—Subrine, former resident
The Catherine McAuley Center’s Transitional Housing Program (THP) provides unaccompanied women over age 18 with a safe place to live, along with guidance and education to help them stabilize their lives.
The women who come to our Center are highly vulnerable — economically, physically, psychologically, and socially. When they enter the program, their most immediate needs are for shelter, food, and/or clothing. Our first step is to provide them with a safe environment designed especially for women.
Once here, women participate in an individualized, gender-responsive program to address issues that may have contributed to their homelessness, such as:
- Mental or emotional health issues
- Substance abuse
- Confinement or probation within the judicial system
- Family and other relationship issues
- Inability to maintain employment
Catherine McAuley Center (CMC) can serve up to 15 women. Admission depends on availability. After the initial 30 days in the program, residents may be eligible for advancement into one of the two housing units that are part of the Transitional Housing Program. Although residents may remain in the program for up to two years, the average length of stay is 18 months.
More than 500 women have been served since our transitional housing program began. We’ve helped women ranging in age from 18 to those in their sixties; the average resident is in her forties.
How the Program Works
Women apply for transitional housing by contacting our Program Manager. Our team interviews all potential residents to determine eligibility.
During the initial 30-day stay, residents receive a mental health and substance abuse evaluation and are expected to follow the professional recommendations for any ongoing treatment. The components of the program use a gender-responsive format to increase the potential for the women to be successful.
What We Expect of Residents
All residents complete a Program Assessment initially and every three months thereafter. Residents also will work with staff to create an individualized service plan to identify long- and short-term goals.
Women in the program are expected to attend a mandatory weekly educational group. These groups focus on a variety of topics including women’s health and nutrition, financial issues, housing needs, personal growth, decision-making, and healthy relationships.
All residents are expected to have gainful employment with a minimum of 20 hours of work each week. During times of unemployment, we expect our residents to make a plan with staff to secure a job.
We also expect residents to pay a weekly housing fee, which is adjusted based on their length of stay. One-half of all housing costs are put into an escrow account for the residents to use as they transition into a permanent living environment.
Our Community Partners
Catherine McAuley Center is part of the Linn County Continuum of Care, a larger community providing support to homeless individuals. We contract with a substance abuse and mental health counselor to address the needs of our residents. We also work with many community partners to refer residents for mental health, physical health, transportation, and employment services.