Marian House – for women’s independence and reinclusion

By Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik. In the following our interview with the Marian House. We talked to Meghan Montone
to understand how Marian House promotes women’s independence and reinclusion.
Homelessness is more than being without a house. It is the result of a deep
What are the main problems that
homeless women
 need to face in order to be
reintegrated into society?
Being homeless does not mean just
being without a house because a house is not necesiarily a “home” which is more
than just a phyisical place and provides a sense of safety, a feeling of
freedom, and the ability to be oneself. The first problem to be overcome for
reintegration into society therefore involves establishing a set of social
connections such as work, friendships, and other activities. Doing so is,
however, not so easy because those concerned often have extensive histories of
trauma — that apart from being homeless — also include sexual violence; chronic
mental illness; and chronic substance abuse.
What are the most common prejudices
about the homeless that your organization has to deal with?
They include the mistaken assumption
that homeless women are unable to change their lives; lack the necessary will
to actually work and become productive members of society; and that homeless
women are in any case inevitably uneducated or unskilled.
Have you over time developed a
strategy that can be considered as being really effective in addressing the
social inclusion of women
 who used to be homeless? 
Our program functions as a
therapeutic community with structured curfews, chores, and community dinners
; programming with mental health treatment, addictions counseling, and case management; and
love within a family environment that
values the dignity of residents with the
celebration of birthdays and holidays, and the provision of a clean and
comfortable home setting.
Do you cooperate with local
authorities and institutions? If yes, how?
We do by making referrals to many
community organisations for a variety of services that for example include
medical care and parenting classes. We also liaise with criminal justice
authorities and other organis
ations on behalf of our
Do you think that institutions and
policy makers could act in order to prevent this issue? If yes, how?
Most homelessness problems are
related to systemic issues, so elimination of homelessness necessitates a
systemic response. This would include prevention of childhood trauma; support
for struggling families; easy access to quality medical/mental health/substance
use treatment; access to affordable and safe housing; improvement of public
schools; and improved neighborhoods that have a community spirit and are safe.