At Home Within: A Noetic Program for Homeless Shelters and Social Service Agencies

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At Home Within: A Noetic Program for Homeless Shelters and Social Service Agencies

The Institute of Noetic Sciences has always been dedicated both to discovering how science can help us understand powerfully transformative experiences and practices and to applying what we learn to reduce suffering and enhance well-being in everyday lives and real world settings.

The At Home Within project for the homeless is an example of how Noetic Sciences can help people who are facing the greatest challenges of their lives get back on their feet and learn tools that can help them thrive and reach their highest potential.

In 2004, John Records, the Executive Director of the Committee on the Shelterless (COTS), a local homeless program which is nationally recognized for its success, approached IONS to propose a collaboration. He wanted to explore how the results of our research could help people whose lives had been shattered to not only find jobs and homes on the outside, but also discover a deep sense of connection, purpose, meaning, and well-being on the inside. We enthusiastically picked up the challenge, and the At Home Within program was born.

Shortly thereafter, with the help of IONS Director of Research Cassandra Vieten and a team of staff members and volunteers from both organizations, we were engaged in providing transformational, restorative practices to the members of the Mary Isaak Center, COTS’ adult homeless shelter. Soon, groups of homeless residents of the shelter were participating in meditation, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, chi gong, yoga, drumming, guided visualization, Somatic Experiencing, Emotional Freedom Technique, iRest, and many other ancient wisdom practices, and we were studying the impact of their participation on their stress levels, psychological well-being, and overall wellness.

This video describes what happened:


Learn more about the impact of this project »

Download the Manual

At Home Within Manual

Please download your free copy of the At Home Within manual for use in your agency!

John Records

John Records
Executive Director,
Committee on the Shelterless (COTS)

"One of the beautiful aspects of the At Home Within program is that it makes available to impoverished people the same high-level support in body-mind practices that people of financial means can readily enjoy. I encourage homeless service providers to explore the potential of At Home Within. It’s life-changing."

Cassandra Vieten

Cassandra Vieten
President/CEO & Acting
Executive Director of Research,
Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS)

"At the Institute of Noetic Sciences, we are committed to translating our work on complementary approaches to health and well-being, many of which find their roots in spiritual wisdom traditions, to real-world challenges. It is estimated that there are approximately 700,000 homeless individuals in the US at any given time, and an additional 1.5 million who will use emergency shelter or transitional housing in the course of one year. It’s extremely challenging for people who are homeless to get back on their feet again, and most face concurrent problems related to lifetime trauma including substance addiction, mental illness, and health problems.

Our premise for the At Home Within program is that learning simple mind-body practices to reduce stress, improve self-regulation, and learn coping skills for dealing with depression, anxiety, and anger are absolutely essential and provide foundational skills that are necessary to be able to take advantage of more conventional programs such as job training, financial skill building, and medical care. We hope you will consider including similar programming in your shelter or social service agency."