RHD Empower: A New Haven for Women in Need

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RHD Empower lives up to its name. By opening its doors to help more women facing homelessness and addiction challenges, this site empowers them with opportunities for personal growth and a supportive community. On Monday, September 11th, RHD’s Womanspace Philadelphia hosted a heartwarming welcome event at Empower, their newly established facility in the Germantown area. Womanspace Philadelphia stands as the only residential treatment program for dually diagnosed, chronically homeless women in the region. The program proudly aligns itself with the City of Philadelphia’s Journey of Hope Project, designed to aid individuals grappling with extended homelessness, substance use disorders, and concurrent mental health challenges. The event brought together program staff, participants, and alumni, alongside RHD staff and esteemed guests, for an enlightening and impactful discussion. Dr. Latika Davis-Jones, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, was among the guests who contributed to the conversation.

During the event, many participants and alumni shared poignant accounts of their struggles and transformative journeys, emphasizing the invaluable role Womanspace Philadelphia has played in their lives. One participant recounted her extraordinary path from homelessness and addiction, underscoring the program’s unwavering support even during moments of relapse. She remarked, “Any other program would have thrown me out,” highlighting Womanspace’s acute understanding of the persistent nature of addiction. “When you mess up, you don’t have to return to homelessness and repeat the cycle. There is a different way.”

Much of the day was dedicated to robust conversations around the achievements and challenges within the realm of substance use disorder treatment, with a focus on their relationship with ongoing regulatory initiatives. The overarching objective was to foster open and transparent dialogue, encouraging participants to share their experiences and insights to enhance and reevaluate substance use disorder treatment practices in Pennsylvania. RHD staff members, including CEO Marco Giordano, actively contributed to this discourse. Invaluable context and perspectives were also provided by distinguished guests such as Amanda David, Chief Program Officer of the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services; Samuel Swarbrick, Chief Strategy Officer for the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs; and Tina Newstead, Program Supervisor for the Journey of Hope Program. The discussions proved to be intellectually stimulating and inspiring, serving as a powerful reminder of the essential work undertaken by programs like Womanspace Philadelphia.

RHD Empower offers 12 beds to those in need, providing not just support, but also a ray of hope in a secure environment. The facility also boasts a state-of-the-art SMART (Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment) therapy room, giving overstimulated participants a space to decompress. This cutting-edge technology, developed by RHD’s Environmental Design Specialist, Leah Forrest, features a range of lighting options and sensory tools, including sound, scent, motor, and tactile stimulation, designed to enhance therapy sessions.

Visit https://www.rhd.org/program/womanspace-philadelphia/ to learn more, donate, and make a difference.