For over 30 years, the United Way of Greater Niagara has been providing critical support dollars to the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier for programs which include domestic violence services, as well as services to homeless women and children at Carolyn’s House. Carolyn’s House is the only long-term supported housing for homeless women and children in Niagara County.
Opened in 2005, Carolyn’s House has seen hundreds of women and children pass through its doors on their way to a safe, dignified future. While at Carolyn’s House and with the support of dollars from the community, residents are linked with services including case management; counseling; workforce training and employment opportunities; parenting; domestic violence support groups; financial literacy; health initiatives; and housing relocation assistance.
Domestic violence is one of the leading causes of housing instability for women and children, and 85% of the current population at Carolyn’s House are survivors of domestic violence. Women leaving an abusive relationship are often confronted with increased responsibilities and limited resources. Coupled with reduced or eliminated social support and loss of internal coping resources, these women often experience significant complications to achieving long-term independence.
Additionally, domestic violence victims may experience a variety of housing stability obstacles as a result of an abusive relationship. The United Way of Greater Niagara also helps to fund the YWCA’s Domestic Violence Program. Lifesaving services provided by the YWCA’s Domestic Violence program include individual counseling; group counseling; case management; safety planning; and assistance with orders of protection, court accompaniment, crisis housing, supportive transitional housing and children’s counseling. Coupled with service offerings provided in YWCA offices in North Tonawanda, Niagara Falls and Eastern Niagara, YWCA Domestic Violence advocates are also housed within Niagara County Child Protective Services, the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office and the Lockport Police Department. In addition to housing services at Carolyn’s House and comprehensive domestic violence services, the YWCA is the only provider of confidential advocacy and counseling for rape victims in Niagara County.
Programs like Carolyn’s House and domestic violence and sexual assault services are challenging to fund. Most nonprofit organizations are underwritten with a patchwork of local, state and federal grants (never guaranteed from year to year), foundation support and donations, and even fee-based programs. The most difficult to fund are often the services provided to the most fragile community members, the underemployed teetering on homelessness and poverty, and women and children in crisis. Without the United Way of Greater Niagara’s support, the gaps in funding would be even more challenging to fill.
The YWCA and the women and children we serve every day greatly rely on the support of the community and organizations like United Way to help cover costs of these critical services. If you look closely, you will eventually see someone in your family or circle of friends who has been served by a program supported by the United Way of Greater Niagara.
Thank you for donating and being part of this giving community!
Kathleen Granchelli is the CEO at YWCA of the Niagara Frontier. If you are interested in learning more about YWCA of the Niagara Frontier, call 433-6714 or go to ywcaniagarafrontier.org.