From SouthCoast Today: Addition will double YWCA’s housing capacity for women seeking help

By Michael Bonner

Posted December 17, 2018 at 7:10 p.m.

New Bedford – Crews continued to construct an addition to the YWCA located on 20 South Sixth St.Thursday.

Expected to be completed in the spring, the new building will offer space for eight additional women to find a home, doubling the YWCA’s current capacity.

“I think it’s just giving people a chance and an opportunity,” YWCA Executive Director Gail Fortes said.  “I’ve seen the changes. I’ve seen many, many women that have moved out and I run into them. I think it’s great and….know it helps.”

The program dates back a decade ago, but the renovation on South Sixth Street will expand upon it.

Last week, the YWCA hosted an open house at it’s current location housing women at 347 Purchase Street, which currently has two spots available.

“We just wanted to let people know, kind of let them know what it will look like,” Fortes said. “…We anticipate it will probably fill up quickly.  So we just wanted to give people an idea of what we’re doing because many people still don’t know that we have a program.”

The only requirements of the program for women is that they are 18 or older and qualify as low income.

Anyone interested in the program should contact Annamarie Lopes for more information at 508-999-3255.

” I think it’s important because it gives people not only a home but we also provide support services,” Fortes said. “There’s just so many times when you are down and out on your luck whether you are going through a divorce, coming out of recovery, coming from prison, you just need a second chance.”

Services beyond housing are individualized for each person.

” It depends on what their needs are,” Fortes said.

The scope ranges from help with volunteering, attaining employment, life and social skills, and emotional support. There are some programs such as financial literacy that are offered to everyone involved in the program.

“Whatever they need to make themselves successful,” Fortes said.

That includes time. “Fortes said the housing offered from the program isn’t temporary. Women can stand stay as long as needed.

Funding for the new facility came from the Department of Urban Development, the City of New Bedford, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Development as well as private donations. Bons sponsored by Senator Mark Montigny and Representative F.D. Cabral also provided funds for the construction.

“It’s a great program. “It’s one near and dear to my heart,” Fortes said. “I think it’s just giving people a chance.”

 

Please view the article on SouthCoast Today by clicking HERE.

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