Mother and daughter sitting outside.

A beacon for local women

YWCA Columbus has offered shelter to women and families in Central Ohio since 1886. See how the program is evolving to meet their needs today

For more than 135 years, YWCA Columbus has served women, girls and families in Central Ohio. Today, YWCA Columbus helps women and their families get on their feet. This can start with emergency shelter and long-term housing for those recovering from addiction, living with disabilities, experiencing mental disorders or navigating job loss and low wages. The organization also offers on-site child care, help securing permanent affordable housing and the resources to find a job that pays family-sustaining wages. “We don't just offer assistance,” says Dr. CeCe Harris, director of the YWCA Columbus Family Center. “We provide families with the stepping stones they need to conquer housing barriers.”

The YWCA’s 50-room emergency shelter in northeastern Columbus offers families experiencing homelessness a safe place to sleep and three meals a day. Residents are paired with advocates for help finding suitable housing options. YWCA Columbus provides a holistic approach to the problem, offering additional resources such as eviction prevention, supportive services, financial literacy and legal aid. In 2022, the Family Center served 942 people and affected the lives of 606 children. “Our commitment to family advocacy and community support remains unwavering,” Harris says.

To support women recovering from addiction, experiencing mental disorders or living with a disability, the YWCA’s Women’s Residency Program provides long-term housing in a 91-unit building. In addition to attending wellness and recovery-support workshops, residents are encouraged to take classes in budgeting and financial literacy. They can also use the Employment Resource Center (ERC), which provides career coaching and resume building. Once residents have gone through the program, YWCA Columbus educates, empowers and encourages them to become active members of the community.

In 2022, 18% of adults residing at the YWCA Family Center who did not already have jobs when they arrived gained employment during their stay. Thanks to support from Bank of America – part of the bank’s commitment to equality and economic opportunity – the organization is expanding its workforce development program. “We sincerely thank Bank of America and our dedicated community partners for their generous support. Their investments enable YWCA Columbus to help women and families achieve independence and dignity,” says YWCA Columbus President and CEO Elizabeth Brown. “Together, we create a significant and lasting impact on the lives we touch."


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