The Lotus House is a unique resource center and residential facility serving homeless women and infants in the heart of the historic African American district of Overtown, Miami, an area suffering from extreme poverty in one of the poorest large cities in the United States. Lotus House provides free transitional housing and wrap around support services with access to a wide range of resources. Not a typical shelter, Lotus House is a place of healing and transformation. With a holistic, gender specific and innovative format, Lotus House seeks to empower women to improve the quality of their lives on every level, achieve greater self sufficiency and transition to permanent homes off the streets.
Lotus House serves women who are homeless, whether due to domestic violence, untreated medical or mental illness, disability or economic reasons. The facility houses over 100 women and children at a time and includes a special maternity program for women who are homeless and pregnant and their infants. Women come to Lotus House through referrals from homeless outreach, youth programs and schools, shelters, safe houses, treatment programs, hospitals and courts, as well as the streets. For many, it is a shelter of last resort, as temporary shelters do not afford them an opportunity to address untreated medical and mental illnesses, obtain work or benefits, and save the funds needed to truly break the cycle of homelessness.
A quiet enclave with lush gardens, Lotus House offers a sanctuary - a place where the minds, bodies and spirits of women and infants most in need are supported, nurtured, uplifted and afforded an opportunity to learn and grow on every level. In addition to free housing for up to a year, three meals a day, clothing, and other basic human services, Lotus House offers comprehensive support services such as individual and group counseling, computer classes, job training and placement, medical and mental health services, and access to a wide range of community resources. Educational workshops and a host of enrichment activities, including art, creative writing, yoga, dance, and crafts, offer alternative paths to healing, self exploration, growth and creative expression. Pre-natal care, birthing and parenting classes, and infant medical care and screening are also arranged for pregnant women and infants, along with needed maternity and infant supplies and day care assistance. With a multi-faceted and coordinated approach, Lotus House seeks to provide the full continuum of resources, tools and education needed to empower these special women to build a safe, secure and better way of life for themselves and their children.
Without shelter, sanctuary and support, women who are homeless have no voice, no identity, and no hope. On the streets, they struggle to survive by being invisible. In holistic programming and support services, Lotus House helps these special women and their children emerge from the shadows, give voice to their dreams and aspirations, and become truly who they were meant to be. Lotus House is where hope blossoms!
Your support is essential to our work to empower women and children most in need to become whole again. On behalf of the homeless women and infants we shelter, thank you for your compassion and commitment to the Lotus House. Your donations truly make a difference!
The Foundation and Its Initiatives
Formed in June 2004, the Sundari Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-denominational, public charity organized for educational and charitable purposes and dedicated to promoting the education, advancement and social inclusion of poor, disadvantaged and homeless women and children.
The first initiative of the Foundation was the establishment of the Lotus House as a free, non-denominational, resource center and residential facility for homeless women and infants in the heart of one of the poorest neighborhoods of Miami, itself one of the poorest large cities in the United States. Overtown was selected by the Foundation because of the overwhelming need of women in this impoverished community for shelter, support, resources and civic engagement in the face of a gap in the continuum of existing services. The Foundation also provides support to other non-profit initiatives serving poor, disadvantaged and homeless women and children in Overtown and other disadvantaged neighborhoods of Miami.
This unique home was named the “Lotus House” after the lotus flower, a universal symbol of compassion, hope and enlightenment. True to its namesake, the primary purpose of the Lotus House is to support, connect, uplift, and empower poor, disadvantaged and homeless women and children to realize their dreams of a better way of life.
The Lotus House was designed as a prototype shelter and resource center providing transitional housing in a respectful, non-stigmatizing environment combined with comprehensive support services and resources to address the gender specific needs of homeless women and infants in an innovative, holistic format. Lotus House is not a typical short term shelter, but a place where the minds, bodies and spirits of women and children are supported, nurtured, uplifted and afforded an opportunity to learn and grow on every level. Lotus House seeks to treat the women and children it serves not as homeless but human, with compassion, common sense wisdom, and greater understanding. We seek to support, educate and empower women and children to improve the quality of their lives on every level, achieve greater self sufficiency and transition to permanent, stable homes off the streets. In providing these very special women with the tools they need to break the cycle of homelessness, we assist them in becoming truly who they were meant to be and at the same time, our community blossoms with their beauty and the hope for a better future.
In partnership with others, the Sundari Foundation hopes to create a network of resource centers and shelters, utilizing the holistic, innovative format of Lotus House, to support, connect and uplift women and children with special needs in other communities across the United States. We hope you will join us in making this vision of hope a reality. Please contact us if your community wishes to establish a shelter and resource center that is based on shared principles.
In 2007, an endowment fund was established to ensure that the Lotus House will serve as a resource for generations of women and children to come. For more information on how you can help, please see our endowment fund webpage.
We are dedicated to promoting the education, advancement and social inclusion of poor, disadvantaged and homeless women and children in our all endeavors, and the vision of the Foundation continues to blossom! Your support is essential to our work on behalf of women and children and we thank you for your enthusiasm and commitment. Donations to benefit the Lotus House and other initiatives of the Sundari Foundation and to the Lotus Endowment Fund, Inc. are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by law.
Though the Foundation is non-denominational, the inspiration for its mind, body, spirit paradigm is derived from “Sundari,” one of the wisdom goddesses in the Hindu tradition known for her inner beauty and representing the embodiment of enlightened consciousness.
Board of Directors and Officers – 2012
The Sundari Foundation enjoys the support of the Board of Directors in the furtherance of its mission. The Honorary Board of Directors brings together prominent community and business leaders who share the vision of the Foundation and serve as good will ambassadors in the community.
Board of Directors 2012
Cindy Bell, RN
Constance Collins, President
Anna Frusciante, Secretary
Burton Hersh, Vice President
Marti Mang, Treasurer
Dr. Gordon Miller
John Sumberg, Esquire
Dr. Kathryn Villano