Opening Doors to Homeownership: How the YWCA is Empowering Families and Building Communities
Homelessness and access to homeownership is a serious issue across the U.S. today. As noted by the YWCA “in 2019, there were 219,911 women alone who experienced homelessness. That’s 39% of all homeless individuals” at the time. Since then, our country has experienced a pandemic and interest rate hikes only furthering such challenges. With it being women’s history month, there is no better time to bring attention to this problem. Redfin partnered with the YWCA to learn more and participate in their mission to empower women and families and ultimately end homelessness.
YWCA Chief External Affairs Officer, Sabrina W. Horton oversees fundraising, marketing and communications strategies that expand the organization’s growth and ability to reach more communities. She shares the YWCA programs and services, celebrating successes, and what work is still to be done.
Programs and Services
The YWCA has a storied legacy of advancing equity and justice. From voting rights to reproductive rights, financial literacy and more. They have long advocated on behalf of women and families and continue to carry out that critical work to this day. From their earliest beginnings of providing housing for women moving to cities for work, to their current initiatives of providing housing and other services for families experiencing homelessness and violence, they have long solidified a role as a place of refuge for families across the nation.
When it comes to housing, Redfin’s call to action is to redefine real estate for ALL. So through joint efforts, the YWCA and Redfin are exploring opportunities within their programs to support families in building a pathway to homeownership in the future.
The YWCA offers so many programs such as Project Self Sufficiency or Pathways in Washington state to help families develop the economic security and financial literacy skills that impact their prospects for homeownership. Those who participate in these programs say that the support offered makes all the difference in being able to get on the path to having a home. To them, a home is much more than a physical structure. It’s a place of comfort and belonging, a sanctuary where one can feel safe and secure. To share a peek into the difference they’re making, here are some success stories.
The YWCA Network has celebrated many successes in recent years, particularly noteworthy are housing initiatives offered by their Local Associations YWCA Billings and YWCA Greater Newburyport.
In early April of 2022, YWCA Billings began construction on a new 25-unit domestic violence shelter that increased their shelter’s capacity by about 300%. The previous year, their Gateway Horizons Shelter housed people from 22 of Montana’s 56 counties, including three American Indian reservations and seven other states. With the increased shelter, they were able to house many more instead of turning them away. According to the Billings Gazette, the shelter provides “25 studio apartments, laundry facilities, a food pantry, counseling and case management offices, along with the YWCA’s 24/7 helplines where 4,775 callers were assisted” between 2021 and 2022.
Similarly, YWCA Greater Newburyport unveiled a 10-unit affordable housing project in late 2021 to address what had become a pressing need in the Massachusetts city. According to the Daily News, “YWCA at Hillside entails 10 units of affordable housing, which will go to individuals with the lowest income in the community. Rent [is] 30% of income for those earning wages below $28,200 per year, while those with incomes above $28,000 but below $47,000… pay a fixed rental amount.”
There’s Still More Work To Be Done
Over the last 160 years, the YWCA has evolved to meet the moment of need, building upon a rich history of advocating and support. The YWCA family is a lineage of powerful leaders, changemakers, and heroines dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, and are proud to carry forth a legacy of justice to build a world of true equity for those they serve.
The mission at the YWCA is to create a more equitable and just society for everyone. Sabrina further states “We need YOU at whatever level of engagement you can join to support YWCA—whether that means volunteering at the local level, sponsoring employee resource group activities to further engage with YWCAs, or financial and in-kind support. We are unable to do this work without public and private support from individuals like you.”
Final Thoughts: Call to Action
Everyone deserves a fair shot at renting or owning a home. Whether you’re on the journey and seeking assistance or interested in joining the effort to end homelessness, there are resources available for you. We invite you to join us.
Looking for Assistance?
- To learn more about what the YWCA offers you can find details here.
- If you’re looking for down payment assistance, you can learn more on the topic here.
- We all know how complex and challenging the housing industry can be to navigate. So to soften these complexities, we offer tools to help YWCA constituents and anyone who may be looking to purchase their first home. Here are a few to consider:
- First Time Home Buyer Guide (English and Spanish)
- Affordability Calculator
- Rental Calculator
- Cost of Living Calculator
Want to Get Involved?
- We are actively partnering with volunteers in their local communities. This may look like donation drives, cleanup crews, fundraising events, and much more. Visit our Redfin Rise to learn more about our philanthropic outreach.
- Join us to support the YWCA. We hope you’ll consider participating whether it’s:
- Donating to our shared giving site here
- Finding your local association here
- Emailing the YWCA at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved
We all have a part to play in shaping the world we live in, so let’s shape it together. #togetherwerise, #risetogether
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