Women in Poverty

Why Supportive Housing?

Letter from the CEO

“God has orchestrated every opportunity and opened every door for Worthy Women Ministry to be a beacon of hope in the community. Our team felt the calling, and together, with your help, we are answering.”

As a young woman growing up, I faced many obstacles in my life; one of them being homelessness. I was a teen mother by the age of 15 and had experienced an extensive amount of childhood abuse in my home. I was a ward of the state in Kansas City, KS as well as right here in Knoxville, TN. With that being said, I experienced firsthand how quality supportive services, community, and mentorship can change the trajectory of a woman’s future… her marriage, family, job, and education, right down to the core of her own self-worth, identity, and purpose. I have also experienced deep healing and restoration that only comes through the name of Jesus.

As our team began praying for the Lord to present us with an opportunity to help women in the community, we had no idea He was going to open the doors for our ministry to start its own faith-based transitional housing program in downtown Knoxville. Supportive housing is a combination of affordable housing paired with supportive services for the resident in the program. The vision for the residents is to equip them through supportive services to become self-sufficient, and no longer living in poverty. There are many different types of supportive housing programs all over the country tackling various issues and pinpointing various populations. Our programs focus on women ages 18+ who, for one reason or another, can’t seem to break the cycle of poverty on their own.

Women experiencing poverty in Knoxville

Poverty by Age and Gender

Females 18 – 24 are the largest demographic living in poverty

“26.2% of the population for whom poverty status is determined in Knoxville, TN (46.5k out of 178k people) live below the poverty line, a number that is higher than the national average of 13.1%. The largest demographic living in poverty are Females 18 – 24, followed by Males 18 – 24 and then Females 25 – 34”


Data Resource: https://datausa.io/profile/geo/knoxville-tn/#economy

As we looked into the data for Knoxville, we were devastated by what we found. These were the statistics for the women bringing our future generations into the world.

” rankings have been standardized so low numbers always reflect positive outcomes. In other words, being ranked first is always better than being ranked fiftieth.” – Data Resource: https://www.thinktennessee.org/state-of-our-state/

Ongoing research only solidified a need for more opportunities like transitional housing services for women, not only in our city but in our state.

We began praying and asking God to show us how to bring the power of the Holy Spirit to these women. How we could not only teach them skills that would help them get better-paying jobs but how they might be truly healed from all of the long-term effects of living in poverty. We were brought to the story of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, and how she was instantly healed. That specific kind of healing or cure is translated in Greek as Diasozo.

Diasozo definition:

  1. to preserve through danger, to bring safely through
    • to save, i.e. cure one who is sick, bring him through
  2. to save, keep from perishing
  3. to save out of danger, rescue
Diasozo House

We believe that there is healing that can happen for women, special healing that can only come through the name of Jesus Christ. That is how Diasozo House was born.

As the former Chief Development Officer for the Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless, I understand the importance of using proven models to meet the needs of our communities. I’ve seen these models run ineffectively due to the lack of capacity, as well as highly effective models. Our programs are designed around transitional housing models but are built on the foundation of God. We don’t discredit partnering with other effective providers and agencies, in fact, those partnerships will be a crucial piece to our ministry and will share in our successes. Striving together to be a beacon of light for women, starting here in East Tennessee.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored

TITUS 2:3-5

For the women leading this ministry, this is more than just a program or a service. This is our God-given purpose. Our calling. To help those in need and to mentor the women who need guidance, deliverance, and healing. Through our obedience, we believe that this ministry will affect generations to come. God has orchestrated every opportunity and opened every door for Worthy Women Ministry to be a beacon of hope in the community. Our team felt the calling and together, with your help, we are answering.

With a servant’s heart,

Mikhael Armao

Research and studies on the emotional and long-term effects of poverty on women:

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