Welcome to City Light Home for Women and Children (Boise) and Valley Women and Children’s Shelter (Nampa)!
Services we offer:
We offer night-by-night emergency shelter to women and children. We always have room and do not turn anyone away due to space. Boys over the age of 12 are allowed to stay with their mothers on a case-by-case basis. Moms may speak with staff upon checking in or sit down with a case manager ahead of time to discuss this option.
We serve 3 meals a day, both to those who stay with us as well as women and children in the community who are in need of a meal. For those who stay with us, we also have a place to shower, hygiene items, and clothing as needed. Other resources are available by communicating with a case manager.
All guests have the opportunity to work with a case manager. We have a team of case managers who work a variety of schedules. Our case managers meet with the guests individually to help guide the guests to the appropriate resources for their needs, either within Boise Rescue Mission Ministries or within the community. The case managers also discuss goals the guest would like to reach and help establish a plan to reach these goals in a timely manner.
We offer a variety of additional services, such as our Kids Program (including Homework Club), Teen Program (including Teen Job Corp), Back to School and Christmas assistance, Work Search, Accountability and Savings, GED and other educational opportunities for children and women as is applicable.
Connections within the community:
We have a limited amount of bus passes for occasional situations such a job interview, first day on a new job, or assistance in setting up transportation services for children to get to school, but overall, our transportation resources are limited.
We are not a medical facility but can assist guests in locating medical services that better serve their needs. We can also assist in referring guests to services for mental health and addiction recovery services. We are here to support and encourage those who are struggling with mental health and addiction while ensuring they know the resources to get help for those struggles.
Children must be with their moms on the property, unless in a pre-approved Children’s Program activity or in certain situations approved by a case manager. We do not provide daycare services; however, we can assist moms in locating a local daycare that works for their family needs.
The basic overview of the experience of coming to check in and stay at our shelters:
Check in time begins at 4pm daily. A check-in process is completed to ensure the safety of all the guests that seek shelter in our building. Items that must be turned in and kept in a secure area overnight are: cell phones, cigarettes, lighters, matches and any weapons. Vapes (including e-cigarettes) are not allowed on Boise Rescue Mission Properties. All of these items have to do with safety and ensuring confidentiality of all our guests.
Personal belongings are limited and guests will be asked to either turn belongings in to a secure location each night, keep items that are approved to be in the building in a tote assigned for their use, or put in a long-term storage option. We do provide all bedding and clean towels for showering each night. The sleeping arrangements are in a dorm style setting in a variety of different size dorms. The building is closed for a majority of services between 8am-4pm with the exception of extreme cold/hot weather, connections with case managers that work the day time hours, and other case by case situations.
We do our best to establish trust and provide support to the guests. Understanding that all our guests are unique individuals who have circumstance, either by their own choices or not, that have created at the very least instability and a traumatic experience of being without a home. We strive to use trauma-informed care in interacting so as to meet our guests where they are at while supporting and encouraging them to reach their goals.
Working with women and children who are homeless – some lessons we’ve learned in the last 20 years:
Many people experiencing homelessness have a variety of experiences that lead to where they no longer have a stable home for themselves and their children. Being a friend to someone who is or who has experienced homelessness presents a unique challenge. Here is what we have learned along the way:
- Money is not the long-term solution: Giving money to someone struggling may assist in providing a short-term solution but it does not give a person the tools to provide for themselves or their family in the future.
- Survival mode: Many people are just trying to get through from one day to the next. When a person or family has experienced trauma, they are often focusing on what will keep them safe and what will get them through that moment. Until they feel safe and their basic needs of shelter and food, long-term planning or even thinking of how an action taken right now will affect their lives in the future is hard to do. Brain functions shut down. They are just struggling to get through the now. Helping someone to take small steps to feel safe and learn how to make those decisions helps them in the long-run to choose better things for their family.
- Bartering systems are part of life: Often people will go to others they know can get them to the help that they need in exchange for something they have to offer. These relationships may not be healthy, such as letting kids stay with someone who does not provide the safest environment, but they may do that because the person may be available at a moment’s notice when others are not. Another example is asking a friend to work on their car because they helped this person out earlier and they know they can get a good deal. While establishing a network of good friendships is important, seeing these friendships as a series of bartering possibilities does not create healthy relationship boundaries. You do not let your friends use you just for your resources. Encourage these healthy boundaries with those you are mentoring as well.
- Do not promise what you cannot give: People are wanting to trust that others care and desire their best. It is better to be honest about what your limitations are and focus on what you can do than to promise something and the person feels like they have been lied to when the promise does not get fulfilled. It is okay not to be able to do everything. It helps people relate to you when they know you rely on a support network of friends as well (even for something like a listening ear when you are having a bad day or advice when you want perspective). It will encourage them to reach out to their support network when they feel overwhelmed or unsure and pressured to make an “instant gratification” decision.
- Solving their problems for them does not help: The difference between being a friend vs being an enabler is often a very fine line but there are important distinctions that can help you to best help someone else. No one usually wants to enable bad decisions to continue. Rather than trying to solve someone’s dilemma, allowing someone to bounce ideas off of you or helping them to think through it and come up with ways to solve the problem themselves, is more empowering. Another example is setting healthy boundaries with communication. When someone calls you with something they see as an emergency at 2am, you may feel bad for them. When they continue to call at all hours of the night with things they could have prevented, you are enabling the behavior of not planning ahead. These calls will happen but it is good to be prepared to discuss those boundaries of friendship from the very beginning. Being available for an emergency is different than getting called to go pick up diapers for someone who knew they were going to run out diapers for 3 days and didn’t call until the middle of the night.