Above: (From left to right) DWC Director of Communications Ann-Sophie Morrissette, DWC Chief Programs Officer Amy Turk, Representative Janice Hahn, Secretary Julian Castro, Representative Maxine Waters, Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, DWC Chief Development Officer Brooke Lykins, and DWC Resident Vikki V.
On August 31, the Downtown Women's Center welcomed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, along with Representatives Maxine Waters, Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Janice Hahn.
After chatting with women in the Day Center, our guests joined DWC Chief Programs Officer Amy Turk and Chief Development Officer Brooke Lykins for a tour of the Center.
They stopped by the MADE by DWC Cafe and Gift Boutique to check out the products created by the women of DWC.
Next, they headed into the San Pedro Street Residence Lobby, to hear about the 119 women DWC houses on-site and to hear a personal testimony from DWC resident and affordable housing advocate Vikki V.
Vikki explained to the Secretary and Congresswomen that housing truly changed her life - and her health - taking her from the streets of Santa Monica to the Downtown Women's Center. Recently, she lobbied on behalf of homeless and low-income women in Washington D.C. (Read Vikki's full story here.)
Another DWC resident Teressa P. graciously opened her home to the Secretary and Congresswomen, inviting them in to tour her beautiful apartment.
She told them the story of her journey from homelessness into housing. "I had so much anger," she said, "and I had to forgive myself." (Read Teressa's full story here.)
Secretary Castro, Rep. Waters, Rep. Roybal-Allard, and Rep. Hahn expressed thanks for Teressa's honesty and her inspirational story.
We were honored recently to hear Rep. Waters speak generously about her visit to DWC at a federal briefing with actor Richard Gere (star of the new movie Time Out of Mind) and housing experts on homelessness in America (starts at 4:13).
"The women I spoke with [at DWC] were inspirational," said Waters. "We have to do more to make sure that all homeless people have the access to housing assistance like Teressa."
Watch the video of the briefing with Rep. Waters: