The Incredible Organizations Creating New Homes For Women

Three amazing women-focused charities fighting homelessness in America.

Courtesy of DWC; Courtesy of Genesis; Courtesy of Haven Housing.

Here at Lonny, our mission is to help our readers create a home that empowers and feels like a true reflection of their personalities. But, for many, the luxury of decorating a home simply isn’t a reality. With homelessness on the rise, living in a safe environment every night or even having a place to call home isn’t a privilege everyone has.

It is shocking to learn that not only are there 553,742 homeless people in America, but the amount has increased by .7% in just the past year, according to HUD. Even more upsetting? The amount of homeless individual women has increased by five percent since 2016. With domestic abuse and lack of mental health care serving as the main causes for women to lose housing security, the people who need the most help are often left with no support.

Thankfully, there are some incredible organizations across the country that have made it their goal to give them the care they need. Of the 215,709 homeless women in America, 74% are in shelters most nights. These spaces are a mix of emergency shelters, transitional housing, and even permanent housing created by charities geared towards creating a safe, welcoming environment to women that can not only give the basic necessities to live, but childcare, mental health care, and job training to recover and get back on their feet.

To close out Women’s History Month, we want to showcase some of these incredible organizations to not only give them recognition they deserve and encourage folks to give back, but also share their services to any readers who may need help.

Courtesy of Downtown Women’s Center.
Downtown Women’s Center – Los Angeles, California

Located in Skid Row, the Downtown Women’s Center has been a pioneer in creating sustainable care and housing for females at risk.

“The DWC is the only organization in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving and empowering women experiencing homelessness and formerly homeless women,” shares Melissa Tillman, chief development and communications officer.

“Our mission is to end homelessness for women in greater Los Angeles through housing, wellness, and advocacy. That starts with connecting women experiencing homelessness with safe, permanent housing, but housing is only one piece of the puzzle,” she says. Not only does the DWC provide 119 units of permanent supportive housing for single, unaccompanied women, but they also coordinate residences for single women and female-led families across the Los Angeles area.

“Individualized support and access to services are what help women achieve long-term stability,” Tillman says. “We provide every woman who comes through our doors with resources and case management, including health care, education, job training, and trauma-recovery services.” In fact, the organization has 1,000 annually use their workforce development services and provides the only women-specific health clinic in Skid Row. Having target facilities is essential to giving the female population the care they really need.

The DWC also recognizes that while they can provide services for its location population, legislation is the next step to spark change to combat the lack of resources for the community. “We work with our elected officials to ensure women are not left out of efforts to end homelessness, and that their specific service needs are addressed,” shares Tillman.

Courtesy of Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support.
Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support – Dallas, Texas

Since 1985, Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support has been a safe haven for Texas women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.

“We exists to give women and children in abusive situations a path to lead independent and safe lives,” says CEO Jan Edgar Langbein. “Our mission is to provide safety, shelter, and support for women who have experienced domestic violence, and to raise awareness regarding its cause, prevalence, and impact.”

While the organization already helps the 650 people who seek refuge in their emergency shelter annually, Genesis also offers long term housing in private apartments for 12 months after their stay. “Genesis Women’s Shelter was founded with a goal to not just help women, but to completely eradicate domestic violence, and we have formulated our services to address the issue holistically and give each woman the same message: there is help and there is hope,” she explains.

“Each year we see more than 1,300 women and children,” notes Langbein. To create a holistic experience and further help these women and children experiencing trauma, the charity also provides more than 17,000 hours of non-residential counseling each year. “The women who come to us are in a fight for their lives,” she shares. “We aim to walk alongside each woman and tell her she is not alone and she deserves a safe and happy life.”

Courtesy of Haven Housing.
Haven Housing – Minneapolis, Minnesota

With a focus on helping women experiencing extreme poverty and homelessness, Haven Housing provides a home and care to women and their children in need in the Twin Cities.

“The mission of Haven Housing is to provide women a stable environment and the opportunity to explore options for their future,” shares executive director Julie Kelley. “Between our three programs (St. Anne’s Place, Ascension Place, and Next Step Housing), Haven Housing provides emergency shelter for single moms and their children, transitional housing for women, and permanent housing for women and women-led families.”

Within these three programs, the organization provides in-depth counseling for women with chemical dependency, mental health issues, and trauma in addition to supplying their basic needs. Family-based programs emphasize parenting help, keeping children active and in school, and wellness, while in individualized housing, each woman meets regularly with her case manager to develop and work on achieving personal goals.

“Whether experiencing extreme poverty, homelessness, mental, or chemical health crises, violence, or abuse, our support services meet women they are. Achieving Haven Housing’s mission would not be possible without our stable and supportive housing,” she shares. “Having a safe haven and dignified place to live gives women the opportunity to heal from trauma, find a community in which to belong, focus on health and wellness, and take positive steps in their journey.”

While these three amazing organizations are taking action to provide support and homes to the women who need it most, there are others in communities across America striving to achieve this goal. We all should contribute to help everyone have a home, whether it may be through donations, volunteering, or even starting a new charity where there is a need for one. While we may not be in the position to give, remember that compassion, time, and a vote are three of the greatest tools at your disposal.

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1 month after attacking Laura Moser, DCCC spars with another Texas Democrat

WASHINGTON – The House Democratic campaign arm may well be at war with another Texas Democrat.

Lillian Salerno, a Democratic House candidate in the Dallas-based Texas 32nd Congressional District, pushed out a fiery news release on Thursday afternoon when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee telegraphed its preference to her primary rival, former NFL football player Colin Allred.

“Folks here are sick and tired of a bunch of Washington insiders trying to make their decisions for them,” she said. “But I’m not scared — I’ve stood up to power and fought for what’s right my entire life.”

“Texas hasn’t elected a new woman to Congress in twenty-two years, and we’re not taking it anymore,” she added. “The DCCC would do well to remember: Don’t mess with Texas women.”

Last month, the DCCC sparked a backlash after inserting itself in the Democratic primary for the 7th Congressional District in Houston by dumping negative research about Democratic candidate Laura Moser online with an aim of preventing her from becoming the nominee there. Moser came in second and is now in a primary runoff.

Salerno is in a runoff against Allred for the nomination to take on U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, a Dallas Republican, in the fall.

At issue was a new list the committee released called “Red to Blue” candidates. The designation serves to signal to donors and DCCC allies which candidates the committee believes should be top recipients for contributions.

Red to Blue is not technically an endorsement from the DCCC. But DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan heaped praise on Allred in a committee news release on Thursday.

“Raised by a single mom who taught for 30 years in Dallas’s public schools, Colin Allred has never lost touch with the community that shaped him,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján.

“Now, after representing his community on the football field and standing up for working people’s dignity in the Obama administration, Colin is running to put everyday Texans before special interests. Colin’s experience and new ideas will give North Texas a fresh start as they look to replace a politician who’s spent 20-years too many in Washington.”

In past cycles, the DCCC has named districts to its Red to Blue program, rather than specific candidates to avoid these kinds of flare ups.

The committee also named retired Air Force Intelligence Officer Gina Ortiz Jones to the program, who is running to take on U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes. Like Allred, she is in a runoff for her party’s nomination. Both Allred and Jones significantly outpaced their closest rivals in the first round of the primary contest.

She carried 41 percent of the vote in her district, compared to rival Rick Trevino’s 17 percent. Allred won 39 percent of the vote to Salerno’s 18 percent.

Curiously, the DCCC avoided Thursday mentioning the third district that national Democrats are most invested in challenging: the Texas 7th. Moser’s rival, attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, is the favored candidate among many women in Congress recently interviewed by the Texas Tribune. But Democrats watching this race almost uniformly complain that the attack on Moser backfired and only strengthened her anti-establishment message.

As for the state of play in the 32nd District, Allred has backing from prominent Texans, including former state Sen. Wendy Davis, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk. But Salerno has the support of EMILY’s List, the influential national group that helps elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a national advocate of women candidates.

Salerno also has the backing of former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, who lent some choice words to Salerno’s news release: “The D-triple-C has gone d-triple-crazy, barging into local elections like clueless, antidemocratic potentates.”

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