What We Do
As a mission of hospitality, Listening Houses’ primary goal is to create a safe, welcoming environment that acknowledges the dignity of those who enter. Staff and volunteers work toward building a trusting relationship with guests, which begins when they trust us. People who have basically lost everything find it difficult to trust and at first many of them silently observe the interactions between staff and other guests. To call someone by name not only sets a relationship in motion, but it stands as an invitation to be part of our community. When asked what the most important service of Listening House is, guests consistently focus on the valuable friendship shared with staff and volunteers.
People are complex and the paths leading to homelessness are thorny, which is why listening is so vital in helping people heal; it strengthens their resolve to begin again. It sheds light on darkness. Though staff experiences are by and large different than the guests we meet, it is possible to listen in a way that helps us understand their point of view. Telling their story is a beginning. Listening to their story can spark hope. Hope gives inspiration to try again, to remember the goals and dreams that were once part of a person’s life. Letting people be seen and heard is what Listening House does best!
Who We Serve
Listening House serves a diverse group of men and women. All are economically disadvantaged, and many are homeless or formerly homeless. Several struggle with addiction, live with consequences of traumatic brain injury, or suffer with a mental illness. Each of them desires to be connected to someone or be part of something greater than them. They are in search of community.
- Listen with compassion and empathy as a way to build trusting relationships
- Provide basic necessities for daily living in a friendly, loving manner
- Promote courtesy and respect for all
- Challenge negative behaviors that are barriers to progress
- Foster a sense of belonging and a desire to invest in the “house” and greater community
- Make appropriate referrals to partner professionals and other agencies
- Offer meaningful activities (community garden, household chores, running club, etc.)
- Hold community meetings to give a voice to guest concerns
- Honor guests through special celebrations and by hosting memorial services for deceased guests
What Makes Listening House Unique?
- The only drop-in center requiring no registration or identification before receiving services
- A belief that two people play a role in every relationship
- A sanctuary where some of the most vulnerable adults on the street find security
- A place where forgiveness is cherished and encouragement to try again is promoted