In the 1970s, our city was in the midst of a crisis. With the reality of de-institutionalization and the resulting surge of homelessness in Los Angeles came the fear that there was no way out.
A small group of women joined together in response to this fear, and at first went all but unnoticed.
These women opened their doors to welcome in the forgotten faces of Los Angeles; cooked free meals for dozens, then hundreds of hungry people; fought for housing alongside individuals facing seemingly impossible obstacles; and dedicated their lives to making sure the women whom society ignored felt valuable and powerful in their own right.
Almost forty years ago, these women founded the Downtown Women’s Center.
To this day, our supporters say there is something special about DWC and the spirit of empowerment that permeates everything we do together. Ours is a community that is the direct result of bold compassion, a legacy created by just a few women who united in defiance of hopelessness.
DWC was founded on the principle that women matter because women are people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, religious background, or immigration status. In the midst of post-election uncertainty, we believe it is vital to both re-affirm the values we hold dear and to celebrate the incredible strides forward we have taken thanks to your support.
Ours is a community that is the direct result of bold compassion, a legacy created by just a few women who united in defiance of hopelessness.
This election, thanks to your votes and the advocacy of our Mayor, City councilmembers, County supervisors, fellow service providers, and volunteers, Los Angeles passed Proposition HHH by a 76% margin of approval. This is a major step to ending homelessness in our city, as Prop. HHH will provide $1.2 billion to build 8,000-10,000 units of housing (including permanent supportive housing) in Los Angeles over the next 10 years. Currently, city officials are determining how these funds will be distributed, and we will be at the table to ensure women are represented in these plans. Prop. HHH is proof of how much local activism can accomplish—and we invite you to join us in the fight for positive change within our community.
Looking ahead to the municipal elections in March, we have a responsibility to continue this work; the LA County Board of Supervisors is developing a homelessness measure to place on the March 2017 ballot. If approved by voters, this proposition would fund homeless services, such as case management, physical and mental healthcare, and trauma recovery services, across the County. More than ever, there will be need for these supportive services as new housing is developed under Prop. HHH.
There is no better time than now to get involved, to stand with the women made to feel invisible, and to keep fighting to end homelessness for good. As one of our participants said recently, “I know how far a woman can go, how high a woman can climb, when just one person believes in her.”
ATTEND: The Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to approve the March 2017 ballot measure mentioned above on Tuesday, December 6, at 9:00 a.m. With so much at stake, we urge you to join us in attending the meeting in downtown LA to show support for this measure. If you are planning to attend the meeting or would like more information, please contact Rachel Kassenbrock, our PR and Policy Coordinator, at RachelK@DowntownWomensCenter.org. We hope to see you there.
DONATE: None of the work we do is possible without your financial support. Set up a recurring donation or donate a one-time gift online here.
VOLUNTEER: We are entering one of the busiest times of year at our Center. With the holiday season comes a need for volunteers to make and serve meals, sort donated goods, and more. Complete our online volunteer application here to get started.