What to Expect: Hotline and Shelter

women with arms around each otherWhat to expect when you call the hotline

Our hotline is staffed 24 hours a day by one of the staff advocates or volunteers/interns at our program. When you call you can expect to be listened to, given resources or referrals if necessary, and offered supportive counseling, including safety planning. Most hotline calls last 15 minutes, and if someone needs more time we are more than willing to set up an appointment with a staff or intern in order to follow up and provide more support.

What to expect if you stay at the Renewal House shelter

Renewal House is located in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston and is very close to the “T” lines and buses. The program is close to the Longwood Medical Area with easy access to schools and medical institutions. Each family or individual who stays in the shelter has their own room with their own key. The rest of the shelter is shared space, including a living room, 2 bathrooms and a kitchen. Each individual or family has their own refrigerators to store items as well as cabinets for food and dishes/cups. Individuals and families meet with a staff advocate once a week to discuss the support needed and to work toward the individual/family goals. Among other things, advocates provide support to residents around finding housing, referring to legal services, mental health services, and childcare/schools.

We believe that coming into our shelter community is a brave step. Fleeing from violence/abuse can be a challenging process and each person’s experience of leaving is unique. This page explains our approach to creating community within shelter – how we support one another, handle/address conflicts that may arise, and what kind of experience you can expect to have while here at Renewal House.


The staff at Renewal House is committed to creating and nourishing an environment where we can live together in community, learn and grow from each other, and take on challenges as a group. In our effort to make this a reality, the Renewal House community seeks to live by restorative and transformative practices.

What is a restorative and transformative framework?

The goal of restorative and transformative practices is to restore relationships and build healthy/whole communities. A restorative and transformative approach relies on a number of principles:

  • Everyone is created good
  • We all have the wisdom/insight we need to make good decisions in our lives
  • It is important to foster justice, equality, and compassion in all human relations
  • All humans are a part of an interdependent web of existence
  • We believe that those best suited to address conflict are the ones directly involved. Conflict is not something that needs to be resolved; rather, conflict presents us with an opportunity to transform the way we live in this world and the way in which we relate to others.

At Renewal House, we live this out by frequently sitting and sharing in “circles.” Our goal for circles is that residents, volunteers, former residents and staff can discuss the life of the community as well as all things related to our lives and the challenges that arise. Together, in circle, we will create community guidelines that we believe help us while being in circle together and/or addressing conflict.

We believe that restorative/transformative practices offer a model of communication, community and strength that is helpful to all people, especially those who have experienced violence or abuse. We embrace restorative/transformative processes because they offer the potential for healing, accountability and open sharing. These practices, in fact, take us back to the original roots of healthy communication and to the idea of embracing all members of communities/relationships. It is a model founded on the idea that we are not isolated individuals – and, in fact, that in order to be human we need healthy communities that embrace us and support us to be FULLY who we were created to be.

We understand that choosing to come to Renewal House is likely a big decision for you. We are hopeful that your time here will provide you with the space to heal, learn and grow.