Those who are accepted into the Program at Casa de la Esperanza will be given the opportunity to live in a clean, dry home with other transgender individuals, and will have a Support Team who offer a caring, affirmative support system. The Casa is a resting place to recuperate from past circumstances, a place to rejuvenate and begin building one’s confidence and discovering inner strengths and skills. Having a safe place to call home will allow Residents to focus on self-sustainability in the workforce and the community. The Casa is supported by donations of products and services, so while it may not always have everything one desires, it will always attempt to provide basic necessities and a roof over one’s head. Weekly Care Sessions with the Support Team ensure that Residents are working towards goal-setting, stress-management, time management, and organization skills, all of which are necessary to go forward in their lives.
The house is located in the Province of Chiriqui, Panama, in a large, rural neighborhood in Puerto Armuelles named El Palmar. The exact location is kept secret for the safety of our Residents. It is not far from the beaches, and is just over five kilometers from the center of the township of Puerto Armuelles. It is situated in a quiet, residential neighborhood built by Chiquita for their workers. The Casa is a two-bedroom, one-bath home on a 900M2. It is basic with concrete floors, no cielo raso, and concrete block windows. However, it is clean, dry, secure, has electricity, and adequate plumbing. There is room on the land for a garden or raising chickens.
A pre-placement interview by phone, email, or WhatsApp will be performed to determine if the person in need meets the requirements for emergency assistance and poses no threat to current Residents. The Casa is drug and alcohol free, and possession or use of these substances results in expulsion from Program.
Residents will be in a shared room at the Casa. Each resident will have a bed, sheets, and a personal towel. There will be soap, shampoo, deodorant, personal hygiene products, and toothpaste and toothbrush provided for all residents. Each Resident will have a storage box for storing personal items. Wi-Fi is provided for those who have cell phones or laptops. Food and cooking supplies are provided. There is no television or air conditioning available at this time. There will be bicycles for Residents to share, and other transportation may include walking to a nearby road to find a taxi, and, on the main highway there are buses going south into the center of town, as well as north towards the towns on the way to Paso Canoas.
Dependent upon funds available, bus fare and/or tickets can be provided to Puerto Armuelles from anywhere within the country. Those accepted into the Program who receive transportation assistance agree to commence their journey expediently, change buses as needed, and continue progressing straight through from origin to destination so their arrival occurs at an agreed upon time.
Length of Stay:
The Casa is available for a term of up to three (3) months per Resident, unless with the evaluation of circumstances, more time may be needed to make sure the resident has a safe exit strategy, with a maximum stay of six (6) months. Evaluation of each Resident’s circumstances will be by the Support Team on a weekly basis to determine progress of Residents collectively and individually. The total number of Residents in the Casa at any time will be determined by space and funds available.
Responsibilities and Expectations:
There are certain responsibilities and expectations all Residents must follow when living in the Casa. The full list of these are outlined in the Agreement. All Residents will be given a copy to be signed upon arrival at the Casa.
The Program will provide a semi-structured daily routine, including chores, journaling, and counseling sessions, as well as attendance at the weekly Support Team meetings. However, it is up to the Resident to work towards self-sustainability during their stay. As part of the Program requirements, Residents will be asked to find sustainable employment, including self-employment, so they can become self-sufficient, financially stable, and gain the ability to find other suitable living arrangements. This work may include outside work for others, such as gardening, home repairs, Spanish tutoring, or within a restaurant, department store, grocery store, or any other type of business. Once a resident obtains employment, a small, monthly rent payment will be required. These funds will be used to continue providing products and services for the Casa’s day-to-day operations.