“Deserving Young Women” of yesterday and today
A little bit of history for Throwback Thursday! The Coalition for the Homeless Women’s Residential and Counseling Center (WRCC), located on Hillcrest Street at Magnolia Ave., traces back to 1921. That’s when a group of local church women known as the United Missionary Societies started and supported the Young Women’s Community Club on Pine Street as “a recreation center and rest room” for young working women.
After several moves, the Club became a boarding house and social center for women. In its heyday, during the 1940s and 1950s, the facility was a center for “deserving young women” who needed a place to stay and an alternative to college or early marriage.
In the 1960s and 70s, the Club helped women with substance abuse and mental health issues. (That was a true sign of the times!) In the 80’s, it was a residence for women from 16 to 37 years old. Yet, all the while, the facility was still owned and managed by women in our community.
The name was changed to Women’s Residential and Counseling Center in 1992, to reflect the fact that the program began accepting women with children. In 1996, the opportunity was placed before the Coalition to operate the facility; and in 2002, the deed itself was turned over to the Coalition.
Today, WRCC still provides a safe place to live for homeless single women and mothers with young children, as our transitional housing program. Incredibly this past year, more than 80 percent of them were victims of crime, predominantly domestic violence, and an average of 30 new crime victims came through the doors each month!
This stark reminder of a major contributor to homelessness, particularly for women and children, makes us very grateful for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding that enables us to provide support and advocacy to our clients who are victims, as well as the volunteers and donors who help us keep everything going. We thank you!