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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Homeless Shelters

Mission: The Sundari Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit, non-denominational public charity, dedicated to the education, advancement and social inclusion of poor, disadvantanged and homeless women and children.  The first initiative of the Foundation was the establishment of the Lotus House Women’s Shelter in the heart of Overtown, Miami, an area suffering from profound poverty and urban blight in one of the poorest large cities in the United States.  Lotus House is a unique women's resource center and residential facility serving women who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, whether due to domestic violence, untreated medical or mental illness, disability, loss of employment, or other economic reasons. For many women, it is the shelter of last resort, as time spent in temporary shelters does not afford them an opportunity to address untreated medical and mental health issues, obtain employment, and save the funds needed to secure affordable housing.  This is not a typical short term shelter, but a place where the minds, bodies and spirits of women most in need are nurtured and supported to empower them to improve the quality of their lives on every level, achieve greater self sufficiency, and transition to permanent homes off the streets.

Geographic areas served: Miami Dade County, Florida

Programs: Operation of residential facility and resource center, known as lotus house women's shelter, providing free shelter, holistic support services and access to wide range of community resources for homeless women and children, including: food, clothing, counseling, job readiness training and educational workshops, access to medical and mental health treatment, pre-natal care, birthing and parenting classes, infant supplies, and a host of enrichment of activities. Facility serves approximately 350+ homeless women and children each year. After its initial formation, the foundation concentrated its efforts on providing relief to homeless, poor, distressed and disadvantaged women and children. It established lotus house as a prototype women's resource center and transitional housing facility, providing basic human services and resources to homeless, poor, distressed and disadvantaged women in miami-dade county. It elected not to further pursue assistance to the school project of the theodore gibson foundation, which was in the planning stages.

through its wholly owned subsidiary lotus house thrift, llc, the foundation has established a work program and community outreach thrift shop benefiting lotus house women's shelter, providing job training, clothing and furnishings for homeless, poor, distressed and disadvantaged women in furtherance of the foundation's charitable and educational purposes.

through its wholly owned subsidiary lotus wellness center, llc, the foundation established a free, volunteer, health and wellness clinic in furtherance of the foundation's charitable and educational purposes.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

* Lotus House is a sanctuary for distress women. * Lotus House has been an asset to me throughout my writing process. *Lotus House has given me leverage to fulfill my Divine Mission - write and find myself. * The Founder/President of the Lotus House - Ms Constance Collins has proven to be very understanding. * Ms Constance is also very open for dialoguing with residents. * Lotus House has equipped hundreds of women to find job and housing. * The Staff of the Lotus House is very adaptable to the residents.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Lotus House Shelter operated by the Sundari Foundation is truly cutting edge technique to address the universal reality of homelessness. Five years ago I was at a time in my life when it felt like every adversity available to mankind swept over me and in this plaguelike state I became overwhelmed and literally "found" myself homeless. From my initial experience with the staff at the Lotus House it felt as though an enormous burden had been lifted and that I was surrounded by individuals who cared about what happened to me. This experience will remain with me for at that time I found myself alone without my family and after my psyche was healed, the Lotus House replaced that loss. As I continue to heal I use my story as an incentive to others who feel hopeless and helpless and to take this message to other women to provide a ray of hope.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Lotus House is nothing like usual shelters. As a matter of fact, the Lotus House should be considered more like a healing “resort” than a shelter. Apart from too strict a curfew and a couple of inexperienced staff members - at time abusive, and perhaps insufficiently monitored – in my humble point of view, with its paradisiacal gardens, the Lotus House stands as an oasis of peace in the desert of homelessness. There is no need to remind that everything provided is completely free of charge: • Food – three daily complete meals. • Laundry – on site washers and dryers plus detergent. • Trainings – from computing to cooking. • Medical attention [on site and also from outside providers] – physical one including dental, but also mental one. • Complete room with sheets and towels. • All personal supplies – soap, touch brush, toilet paper, sanitary tissues … • And many entertainment and other activities – from belly dancing to outings at the beach or visiting gardens and museums. • And so on and so forth … [producing an exhausting list is really impossible]. This wide array of services is supplied by numerous experts available on site and on a daily basis: wellness specialist, resources coordinators, program coordinator, therapist plus an employment specialist. Outside suppliers also contribute to the program on a regular basis. For instance a nutritionist that comes to instruct guests on improving their eating habits, the art teachers that provide weekly sessions and financial advisors that present seminars on sound financial practices. it must be pointed out that an employment specialist monitors guests [current and old ones] on a daily basis in terms of job hunting, production of efficient resume and covering letters, and any other coaching needs. Out of the multiple gifts bestowed by the Lotus House, the most valuable one would be the one of soft and respectful welcome, particularly from its very zen president, Ms Constance who never raises her voice. On the contrary Ms Constance would kindly “chastise” any staff member who dares treating her guests disrespectfully, or should they fail to best address guests’ needs and requests. Indeed, those who sojourn at the Lotus House are referred to as guests as opposed to clients, residents or worse yet homeless. And they are really treated with the personal touch with which any host would hail family and friends. Celebrations are organized on every special occasion, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Day, Valentine Day, Lotus House Birth Anniversary, Mothers Days, Memorial Day, Thanks Giving Day, and many more. On these circumstances, Guests will create and prepare a special menu, or outside caterer will deliver more elaborated meals. And every guest receive and share a cake on their birthday. Among the best parts of my stay at the Lotus House are the following activities: * Jewelry making classes. * Morning Sessions of Inspirational Thoughts. * Creative writing. * Book Club. * Yoga. * Cooking training. * Gardening projects. * Therapy sessions. I frequently return to the Lotus House to attend to classes of yoga, creative writing and book club, jewelry making, … and so on. I also enjoy talking with guests and staff at their breaks, or simply hanging around its garden. I guess what I find here is a sense of tolerant security that exists nowhere else. More importantly, I obtain any assistance I may require, ad infinitum! For instance, after a year of termination, the Lotus House blessed me with tremendous assistance as I was moving to a new apartment [three differing loads of furniture and other useful materials delivered by pleasant and friendly volunteers!!!]. I also continuously benefit from recommendation letters anytime I so require, to name only those. It is hoped that the Lotus House is setting new standards, not only in the field of shelters bust mostly in terms of women empowerment. I will personally remain eternally grateful to the tremendous gifts that the Lotus House has “poured” and continue to “pour” onto myself. In complete earnest, the last complimentary note should be attributed to all the staff members and volunteers whose dedication and commitment go far and above their work attributions. Gigantic Thanks & Bravo Lotus House !!!