Contact: Dawn F. DiStefano
413-732-3121 x 114
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
YWCA of Western Massachusetts Receives $500,000 Award from
Office on Violence Against Women for Supportive Housing Project
The YWCA of Western Massachusetts has received a $500,000 award from the Office on Violence Against Women to offer a YWCA Supportive Housing Program in Springfield, Massachusetts. The grant also supports a partnership with HAP, Inc., the area housing partner offering assistance to homebuyers, homeowners, tenants, and landlords.
The YWCA Supportive Housing Program will provide the local community with 28 newly developed transitional housing units, 20 units of supportive housing for adult victims and 8 units of transitional living for pregnant and parenting teens who have experienced domestic violence, dating violence and/or sexual assault. Support services for program participants at the YWCA and HAP include safety planning, transportation, counseling, childcare, case management, employment counseling, housing search and other assistance (credit repair; economic issues), and trauma-focused parenting support.
“Our domestic violence shelter is filled to capacity 99 percent of the time,” says Mary Reardon Johnson, Executive Director of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts. “Last year alone, we had to deny 5 out of 6 requests for shelter because there was no room. By building the supportive housing unit, we will be able to transition women from the domestic violence shelter to a safe, secure, longer-term living facility. This will give women 18 to 24 months to get back on their feet, while at the same time, make room in our shelter for women in imminent danger.”
The YWCA Relocation Assistance Program will provide short term housing assistance including rental or utilities payments, deposits and/or relocation costs to secure permanent housing.
Three (3) new full-time employment opportunities will be available to community members (Site Director, Social Worker and Case Manager) to assist victims at the YWCA and HAP.
YWCA YouthBuild participants (out of school, age 16-24) will receive construction training (building 28 units of YWCA transitional housing), employment counseling (how to conduct a job search, completing applications, writing resumes, teaching soft skills and computer skills) and educational support.