What is the social issue being addressed by Enchanted Makeovers?
The issue of homelessness is a very complex problem. Not long ago, women and children were rare at rescue missions and shelters. The harsh reality is that today, they are more common than ever. A recent report by the National Center on Family Homelessness found that 1 in 45 children in the United States are homeless. That means 1.6 million children are facing a life without a stable environment.
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), female veterans are more than twice as likely to be homeless when compared to female non-veterans in the U.S. (2.5) and female veterans living in poverty are more than three times as likely to be homeless than female non-veterans in the poverty population (3.4). According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 13% of the adult homeless populations are veterans.
The majority of long-term stay homeless shelter environments work against their programs and positive outcomes. When women and children enter a shelter that has a depressing prison-like environment, is broken and full of items other people discarded as trash, it reflects their feelings of brokenness.
Behavioral and psychological scientific studies have shown that a stable, nurturing environment leads to better outcomes in physical/mental health, developmental milestones, academic performance and overall well-being.
Enchanted Makeovers' Mission
Enchanted Makeovers’ mission is to transform long-term stay homeless shelters for women and children into places that inspire behavioral and psychological change. Through unique projects and programs, a place is created that is supportive and inspirational for the most vulnerable members of our society while re-building their lives.
Key Elements of Enchanted Makeovers’ Organizational Model
The effectiveness of Enchanted Makeovers’ unique model has been featured on the U.S. Department’s Health and Human Services website for Homeless and Housing Resources in the article “The Four Walls Around Us”. In addition, a study recently published in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine “Creating a Healing Environment” documented the correlation between a healing environment and overall patient well-being. It also found that inner city children have greater disease burdens and worse outcomes compared to children living in a nurturing environment. The article focused on the role of the “healing environment” and aesthetic surroundings as critical to health outcomes and overall well-being.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is also focusing on the impact of environment and overall well-being as evidenced by their study conclusion “Well-being is a positive outcome that is meaningful for people and for all sectors of society. Good living conditions are fundamental to well-being”.
Enchanted Makeovers’ unique model nurtures women and children living in shelters. Many women and children living in homeless shelters are there because they have escaped situations of domestic violence, sexual abuse, family addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other extremely challenging situations. Through various projects, programs and makeovers of the physical space, women and children are introduced to a way of life, a way of thinking that helps to shift their outlook about their lives and possibilities for the future. The shelter is physically and emotionally transformed into a “beacon of hope” With each shelter project, Enchanted Makeovers is demonstrating that everyone is worthy of hope, dignity and respect.
Enchanted Makeovers creates an environment that is motivating and inspiring. An environment is created that uplifts and reminds women and children living in shelters that they are worthy and that all things are possible. Enchanted Makeovers also supports women and female veterans through our mentoring program “The Sacred Sewing Room”. This program does not just set-up sewing rooms full of fabric, thread, patterns and machines. This program shares the life skill of sewing that also serves as an important coping skill and possible future job skill. On an on-going basis, Enchanted Makeovers’ volunteer sewing instructors hold classes in the “Sacred Sewing Room”. In addition, Enchanted Makeovers has a toll-free number “855-She is Me” available to anyone (e.g. female veterans, victims of domestic violence etc.) who wishes to contact the organization as a resource.
Enchanted Makeovers’ model has an unmatched ability to create a connection with the shelter, its residents and the surrounding community. This is a key element in effectively accomplishing how the organization addresses this complex social issue. In fact, community involvement is a major part of how the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans advises people to help: “If you are not already part of an organization, align yourself with other people who are interested in attacking this issue. It is time to bring people together around this critical need.”
Volunteers from the community, local and nationally, work together to serve the residents and share their time, talent and stories. A great part of Enchanted Makeovers’ mission is to shift the paradigm of how we give, serve and see one another.