The YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts – A Voice for Women & Girls

Shelter Angels

Shelter Angels, branch

Note:  If you are interested in helping to outfit our YWCA in Haverhill’s new ‘Residence,’ please click here.

Our sincere thanks to all those who helped us as a Shelter Angel to open the Emergency Shelter in the Merrimack Valley, we could not have done it without you!

We were at capacity within 48 hours after opening.  While this is a sad commentary on how great the need is within Massachusetts for such housing, it’s very gratifying that we can now offer shelter and services to victims and their children in crisis.  While we can’t disclose the location, we can share that it is within the border of the Merrimack Valley.

A Note About Shelter Angels:
The Wish List worked really well, and we’ve received more than 100 items that helped us outfit the shelter in good style!  However, most of the packages received did not have the name of the donor – and we want to thank you!  If you sponsored one or more items and have not been acknowledged, please email Susan McNeff and let her know the details.  She’ll follow up and contact you via email.

Shelter Background
In the fall of 2013, we were awarded a contract by the MA Dept. of Children and Families (DCF) to re-open and run a defunct shelter in the Merrimack Valley for domestic violence victims.  At the time, there were fewer than 135 beds statewide to house women and their children when they fled abuse.  Did you know that the main reason why victims stay in or return to abusive relationships is due to lack of housing options?  By re-invigorating this shelter, we’ve added needed resources to address this problem.

The shelter, closed for 18 months, had fallen into disrepair. Initially, we found funding for the renovations to the house, but learned in late November, that DCF would pay for the renovations, and that we were to furnish everything to outfit 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a living room, children’s room, kitchen and office – all by January 1, 2014.  And…the catch was everything had to be new — we were unable to accept used itemsStaff, board members and Shelter Angels went into action, and the shelter was outfitted and opened by the first of the year.

What Happens at the Shelter
As mentioned, our shelter has operated at full capacity since its opening in January of 2014.  On an on-going basis, our staff work with these victims and their children to help them assess their options, create a safety plan, and help them find and secure safe, affordable housing.  This necessitates aiding these victims in building self-trust and self-confidence as they work to rebuild a future for themselves and their children without violence or abuse.

Feel You Can Help?
You can always help as a Shelter Angel!

Click here to see how you can make a difference in the life of our shelter residents.