Maria House, a program of Opening Doors, is more than a transitional housing initiative. Its philosophy and programs reflect the dignity of women and supports them in claiming their own power. Women are encouraged to make choices that are appropriate for them, to develop personal responsibility, to live independently in permanent housing and to achieve their full potential.
Address: 1561 Jackson Street
Dubuque, Iowa 52001
Heather LuGrain, Opening Doors Program Director
Arriving at Maria House
After entering Teresa Shelter, potential residents must be referred by the Teresa Shelter Director or Case Manager. All potential residents are prescreened in a phone interview. After the prescreening the Program Director sets up a time for a tour. At admission, each woman’s needs are assessed. Based on those needs, goals are set. Women are expected to stay at least three to six months, but no more than two years. During this time, staff works closely with the women to set developmental goals and create strategies to achieve them. With the assistance of the Program Director and Case Manager, goals for each woman are written, reinforced daily and updated weekly.
Residing at Maria House
Each woman is expected to pay for part of the cost of her stay at Maria House including her personal items, food, clothing, transportation and operating expenses for the program. Even though this amount is generally only a small percentage of the total cost of her stay, it helps her develop a greater sense of responsibility and derive satisfaction from being able to support herself, at least partially.
Existing community resources are utilized for job training, education, employment, individual and family counseling plus access to safe, affordable, permanent housing. In addition, staff at Maria House offers life-skills training and many supportive services on-site. These services include:
- Parent skills
- Women’s health issues
- Social skills
- Communication skills
- Legal advocacy
- Housing advocacy
While the women are living at Maria House, a world of opportunity is available to them. They are taught life skills and receive personal support that enables them to be self-sufficient in the future.
Leaving the Maria House
When a woman is ready to leave the program, an exit interview is conducted. Her goals are reviewed again to determine if she has met them and is ready to move on to permanent housing. At this time, it is hoped that the woman has obtained the life skills necessary to enable her to become a self-sufficient, productive member of society. In addition, every woman who leaves Maria House is offered follow-up support for up to six months.