Rebuild (3)

YWCA Pierce County - Rebuild
Major structural renovations to existing buildings or building anew from the ground up in order to ensure the built environment suits the needs and aspirations of the program.

Domestic Violence Services of Benton & Franklin Counties

YWCA Walla Walla

Eastside Domestic Violence Program
Salvation Army Catherine Booth House
YWCA Pierce County
Family Resource Center of Lincoln County

Domestic Violence Housing First

Even in tough economic times, the YWCA Pierce County’s community invested enthusiastically to ensure safety and opportunity for survivors and their children.

The YWCA’s domestic violence emergency housing program had been housed in a communal setting on the upper floors of a 1927 structure originally built to provide rooms to “single ladies” traveling on their own to the Northwest. When the YWCA set out to update their facilities, a nearby early 1900’s apartment building went up for sale. Miriam Barnett and Karin White Tautfest (Executive and Deputy Directors at the YWCA) saw this as an opportunity to offer residents not just safety, but also the dignity and healing that individual space offers. In December 2008, YWCA Pierce County launched a successful $5 million dollar campaign to purchase, renovate, and sustain the new building.

The apartment building has a mix of small and large studios, one, and two bedroom apartments, each with their own kitchen and bathroom to provide families with privacy. The range in apartment sizes allows the organization to house individuals and families of varying sizes. Survivors and their children laughed, cried, hugged staff, danced around and gasped in disbelief as they toured their new apartments on the day of the move into the new space. The old communal shelter space is now used for free legal services, daycare, therapeutic services, support groups, transitional housing, trainings, teen dating violence prevention, and more.

The “rebuild” in this case included significant community involvement. Since the YWCA never had a secret location, they welcomed the community into the process. As a result, many individuals and organizations stepped forward with donations to make the shelter beautiful, functional and child friendly. Local interior designers “adopted” each apartment, providing furniture and decorations, saving the program thousands of dollars and resulting in each apartment being unique. A steel artist donated her labor to create grates and window bars that look artful and beautiful while ensuring security for residents and staff alike.

Being open about their needs and their location, the YWCA Pierce County has increased community investment in their program and in the survivors they serve. In the end, 46% of their campaign donors were first time donors to the YWCA, creating an expansion in community awareness about their programs and an opportunity to cultivate and grow new donor relationships.

Community Context: Urban
Shelter Type: Apartment Building
Building Area: 16,000 SF
Average # of Families: 23
Living Unit Types: (11) studios, (4) 1-BR, (3) 2-BR & (4) efficiency units
Kitchen/Dining Type: in-unit
Other Communal Spaces: Living Room, Children’s Room, Computer Room, Phone Room
On-Site Staff: 4
From top to bottom: 1) The building's renovated exterior 2) Supporters gathering to celebrate the shelter's opening 3-5) Three different rooms in the shelter, all decorated in different styles by volunteers.