COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The YWCA Family Center is celebrating ten years of serving homeless families in Franklin County.
The emergency shelter, located at 900 Harvey Court, opened in 2005. It marked a change in the way homeless families were served.
“The purpose was to create a center for the families where they could stay overnight,” said Patti O’Toole, Vice YWCA Vice President of Marketing. “They would have comfortable housing and received all their services in one place. They would be fed here, would have care workers who would connect them with their services. They would coach them in their new housing, finding them jobs.”
The Family Center can help up to 50 families. But they are often over capacity because far more families are homeless since the recession.
It is an oasis for families like Tracie Adkins and Bryan Muncy. They moved into the Family Center in November.
“I lost my job about the middle of October,” said Muncy. “And where we lived, we paid weekly. So it wasn’t very long after that everything we saved, we ran out of.”
Muncy and Adkins have two children, who still attended their neighborhood school thanks to the Family Center.
“It’s humbling. It does take some of your pride away,” said Adkins.
In the first year the Family Center was open they served 696 families. The average length of stay at night was 44 days. Ten year later, more than 1,355 families are finding shelter at the center. Since the Family Center opened, 8,574 families have been assisted.
O’Toole said the number of families entering emergency shelter has increased by 79% in a three year period.
“We really hope some day to be put out of business because everyone will have a home,” said O’Toole.
Adkins and Muncy are grateful for the help they have received and look forward to moving into their new home at the end of December.
“I really honestly don’t know what we would’ve done without the YWCA,” said Adkins.
To celebrate their ten year anniversary, the YWCA Family Center launched it’s $10 for 10 years fundraising campaign. Visit their website here.