The YWCA Sojourner’s Shelter for Homeless Women and Families program mission and vision is to provide a safe healthy, and nurturing environment and promote self-sufficiency. Services are provided to single women, women with children, men with custody of their children, veterans and intact families.
Sojourner’s is a community-based program addressing vital needs in the community. Who are the people we serve? It may be the person you work with, the family sitting next to you at church, the child playing with your children on the playground or in their class at school. You can't always tell from the outside that a person is homeless.
There are many reasons someone is homeless. Perhaps she lost her job, was laid off due to company restructuring, or maybe she's suffering an illness and her family is struggling to make ends meet. Some are struggling with their addictions to alcohol and/or drugs and needed help finding their way back.
A homeless person is still a person - someone who was taught right from wrong, someone who may have had good parents, but ended up on the streets. Homeless people often sleep in places not meant for human habitation, including abandoned cars, because of their struggles and sometime from the choices they made. Homelessness does not discriminate, and it touches us all in some manner.
Once a person is out of options and has no other choice but to call Sojourner’s “HOME,” these are some of the comprehensive services/tools we provide for long-term sufficiency: case management, supportive counselling for substance abuse and mental health disorders, housing assistance, education and employment skills, and aftercare/follow-up services. We also bridge the gaps between the school system and our children/youth by providing onsite education and enrichment programming which includes supportive counselling.
Here's how the YWCA Sojourner’s Shelter addressed our community's needs in the last year alone:
715 individuals received service, with 206 being children
20,562 shelter nights (prevented individuals and families from sleeping on the city’s streets)
86,213 nutritious meals & snacks (addressed hunger within the community)
7,197 case management /counselling hours
48% of clients received substance abuse/mental health services
80% of clients maintained housing
72% of clients maintained their employment
What does that look like to just one person? Here’s an example from a recent client in her 30’s, pregnancy with her first child:
“S” became homeless due to a domestic violence situation and lack of family support. She wasn’t working because her husband had a good job and provided well for them, which also contributed to her staying longer in a bad situation. She was sad that her son all of two days old had to reside in the shelter, but it made her even more determined. She said, “Sojourner’s gave me a second chance to make a better life.”
Today, her family has sufficient income and lives in their own apartment. Her son is in daycare and she is currently an employee of a local hospital. “I owe a lot to Sojourner’s. THANK YOU ALL!!” she shares.
So, the next time you think about supporting a community-based program, think about the services available to the entire family and the impact the program has on preventing future homelessness in the Kanawha Valley. YWCA Sojourner’s recidivism rate is extremely low - only 5% of individuals have to return to the facility.
If you’d like to support YWCA Sojourner’s, please consider joining us Nov. 11 for Guys Night Out or at Foodie Feast on Nov. 12. You can also make a donation to our program or come volunteer with us.