In recent years we have witnessed a growing trend of recognition of the uniqueness of the characteristics and needs of young females in distress by researchers and professionals in the field.
One of the central needs which can be treated is the coping with the housing shortage of young females in risk. This group includes, amongst others, young females lacking family support; young women who suffer from poverty, not employed or employed in low-paying jobs, facing huge debts, of their own or of their parents; former boarding school students or foster family members or young females ejected from various institutions or their family homes; young women who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual exploitation; young females who have difficulties integrating into society, employment or studies or young females previously treated as minors by the social services.
The Young Females’ Organisation Forum published a position paper regarding the housing problem of young females at risk in the name of "When You Don’t Have Your Own Room" which stated: "The actual lack of shelter - namely the lack of not only four walls that one can live in, but also shelter that allows for a dignified and well being living, and provides security and stability – amongst these young females not only harms their healthy development as adults and their integration in society, but also serves to expose them to substantial risks, unique to them, which if materialized can cause fatal harm to human dignity and their fundamental human rights, including the right to a minimum of a dignified human existence. This way for example, a lack of housing exposes these young females to the risk of entering a violent and oppressive relationship, sexual exploitation for the sake of shelter, the loss of ability to rehabilitate themselves and get out of the poverty cycle through the studying and acquiring a profession, and in extreme cases, also to deteriorate to prostitution and in casual or permanent drug abuse."
It is important to emphasize that young females in need are at a higher risk than young males in need of finding shelter. Three factors lead to this: prospects for earnings of young non-professional men are higher; temporary housing do not endanger young males, are more available to young males than young females (apartments with many roommates); the chance of the distress cause being associated with the family is higher with young females than young males, and therefore their ability to use family housing solutions for short periods is affected.
An examination of the existing solutions for young females indicates that there are now solutions that offer housing as part of intensive care and support, whilst there are many programs that offer services in various areas (supplementary education, vocational training, etc.), but there are no housing solutions for the benefit of young females at risk who are missing family support.
Services Provided in the “Diurit”
- Housing - Two young females will live in a room where there are a toilet and a shower (optimal situation). The room will be equipped with a small refrigerator, electric stove and a kettle. For the housing the young females will pay for a fee of 200₪ per month for the first three months of living there and up to 500₪in the final three months. Referral and connection with community officials offering employment, vocational training and education.
- Shell Support – The “Diurit” housing model refers, on the one hand to barriers faced by young females when they come to integrate into society while paying attention to the services available in the community, in order not to create additional parallel facilities, but use whatever is at hand and maximize it for the benefit of the young females. During the first phase an extensive and accessible network will be built to enable young females to effectively use the various services and community resources. For example, national insurance contacts, bailiffs, health clinics, mental health clinics, legal aid, legal clinics in the field of labor and so on. At the same time a network of employers and educational institutions’ contacts as well as various professional training will be built. During the second phase volunteers will be trained to help guide the process of exercising the young females full rights, debt repayment, job finding as well as education and training programs. The volunteers will be helpful where the lack of social capital is a barrier to extracting the various options open and opening to the young females. This combined action alongside safe and comfortable residence may enable young females to move from exclusion and survival to state in which they are on a route to independence and social affiliation.
The Otot Association – A door to a new life, is a registered nonprofit organization, established in 1981, to offer an outside the home resource in the community for youth at risk.
The Otot Association operates 16 hostels and mature apartment complexes nationwide, offering care, education and rehabilitation for youth integrated with the surrounding community. The association works in cooperation and under supervision of the Youth Protection Authority in the Ministry of Social Affairs and provides various solutions to 900 boys and girls annually. The association offers solutions to youth from different backgrounds and operates facilities designated for boys, girls, the Jewish sector, the Arab sector, the religious/Orthodox sector and the LGBT community.
The goal of the care in the framework of the association is a reintegration of the youth into normative community life.
The State of Israel offers educational programs and many different care frameworks for youth in distress.
At the extreme end of the spectrum programs there are16 hostel programs within the community designed for boys and girls for whom other care programs have failed to prevent their descent into a world of crime, violence, neglect, exploitation, prostitution, substance abuse, and exposure to life-threatening situations.
The Otot Association offers a last chance for these youths to get onto a normative life course, these young people to realize their potential and offering society a new generation of citizens who are not a burden to it.
At the end of the period of residency in the hostel, the adolescents return to society equipped with tools that allow them to cope with day-to-day difficulties. The majority enlist into the IDF and end the military service successfully. Our goal is to help them become productive citizens who contribute to themselves, their families and society.
The association's vision
The Association sees itself as committed to the care of youth who have reached the end of the educational and treatment spectrum in Israel.
The boys and girls are at risk and have dropped out of the educational frameworks of their community and in need of outside the home care, in the absence of parental authority and ability to care for all their developmental needs.
The Association initiates and develops unique educational and therapeutic programs, and constitutes a leading professional body for the development of innovative tools.
The Otot Association operates the programs within the community, in the belief that this combination contributes to the rehabilitation process and is in the interest of society as a whole.
The Association takes care of youth from different backgrounds and is committed to provide a response sensitive to every culture, religion, and gender.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Resource Development
Our Website: www.otot-il.org.il
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