Casa Ioana celebrates 21 years of working with marginalised groups

Mon | 27.06.2016

NGO

Casa Ioana, Bucharest oldest and largest independent shelter for women and children experiencing domestic abuse and family homelessness, celebrates 21 years of working with marginalised groups, in Bucharest. To celebrate, Casa Ioana is expanding its Financial Literacy Programme to enable more women to return to formal education, learn the soft skills identified by employers as being important in hiring people and get professional help in finding the right job. The programme is supported by local companies.

Since 2000, Casa Ioana has concentrated on providing shelter and professional services to families and single women who have lost their homes. Domestic abuse is a leading cause of family homelessness. Each year, the organisation supports around 55 families and 10 single women. Casa Ioana’s professional psychosocial team is on the frontline of our work, building relationships and trust, opening doors for them and supporting them to move on with their lives. Through their unique ACASĂ programme, comprehensive services ensure that the family stays together whilst emphasis is placing on empowering individuals: a process by which people are supported to take control of their daily lives and exercise choice. Empowerment means that the people they serve have the power to take decisions in matters relating to themselves, their daily lives and their self-development.

“It has been an amazing journey,” says the founder and president of Casa Ioana, Ian Tilling. “Reaching out to women experiencing domestic abuse and family homelessness, and helping them move on with their lives is the core of Casa Ioana’s work; it is where we started out 21 years ago and it is still a challenge today. Casa Ioana has had to fight hard over the years to build its services and create a method of working that sees more than 80% of its beneficiaries move on positively with their lives. Innovation in social services can be difficult to implement, because of the top-down mentality that still exists, but by encouraging our beneficiaries to be a big part of the solution, helps empower them for the future. Casa Ioana’s success owes much to its staff and I’m honoured to have the opportunity to work alongside such a committed and professional team.”

Contact:    Nicoleta Dinu – Public relations and communications

Telephone: +40 21 3326 390

Mobile:      +40 760 249 392

Email:       nicoleta.dinu@casaioana.org

URL:                www.casaioana.org

The Casa Ioana Association (Casa Ioana) was established in 1995 and supports families and single women experiencing domestic violence and family homelessness. Casa Ioana opens the door to safe temporary accommodation and a wide range of professional psychosocial support services. Casa Ioana provides comprehensive support that helps its beneficiaries’ transition into independent stable accommodation, work and the community around them, whilst equipping them with the skills to manage future crises. Central to this process is the belief that beneficiaries should be empowered to make their own choices whilst supporting their independence.

Domestic violence is the immediate cause of homelessness for many families and single women. Survivors of domestic violence are often isolated from support networks and financial resources by their abusers, which puts them at risk of becoming homeless. As a result, they may lack steady income and a history of employment and often suffer from anxiety, panic disorder, major depression and substance abuse. When women find themselves in an abusive relationship, they may not always have clear-cut choices.

Studies also suggest that many women experiencing homelessness are survivors of domestic violence, even if it was not the primary cause of their homelessness. Experts agree that there is a strong correlation between domestic violence and homelessness. Women often flee suddenly without a plan and find themselves in physical and economic trouble and without housing stability. When a woman decides to leave an abusive relationship, she often has nowhere to go. This is particularly true of women with few resources. Lack of affordable housing and long waiting lists for assisted housing mean that many women and their children are forced to choose between abuse at home and life on the streets. Many women are cut off from their friends or family or are afraid to seek shelter with them because the abusive partner can track them down more easily.

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