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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Housing Support, Human Services, Mental Health, Residential Mental Health Treatment

Mission: To provide permanent supportive housing and a safe and healthy community fostering dignity, respect, and personal stability, and to advocate ending homelessness for women.

Programs: Drop-in day center: for women living on the streets or in night-to-night shelters, the dwc day center provides a respite from the rigors of the street while providing a combination of services to address individual needs, including meals, showers, clothing, laundry, phone, mail, and other vital services. In addition, dwc offers education and job readiness resources aimed at breaking the cycles of unemployment and homelessness. In 2014, the following milestones were achieved; dwc:- provided over 110,000 meals to those in need. - created a safe oasis for 4,000 women and a permanent supportive home for 119 formerly homeless women. - provided nearly 8,000 case management sessions to ensure that each woman has an individualized service plan tailored to her needs. - offered basic medical care, mammograms, and women's health services, hiv screenings, and physical and mental health assessments to 900 women through skid row's only women's medical and mental health center. - assisted nearly 1,000 women with education and job readiness resources through the learning center and computer lab; classes in computer skills, literacy, and math; and academic and vocational counseling. - placed 44 women in employment opportunities. - provided 20,000 showers, along with day rest beds, changes of clothing, laundry, phone, and mail services in the drop-in day center. - placed 26 female veterans and their children in housing. - surpassed 25,000 annual volunteer hours and 5,200 volunteers. - launched the first national convening on women's homelessness, entitled "1-in-4" to gather service providers, researchers, and policymakers to bring attention to this under-recognized group. - helped break the cycle of homelessness by ensuring that 95% of the women dwc houses stay housed permanently.

permanent supportive housing: dwc's two residences provide 119 units of permanent supportive affordable housing for elderly, chronically mentally ill, and/or physically disabled formerly homeless women to live in safety and dignity. A range of counseling and housing services - including the first-in-los angeles implementation of critical time intervention (cti), an internationally recognized evidence-based practice in permanent housing stabilization - help women on skid row end the cycle of homelessness by finding and staying in housing.

health and well-being: dwc offers medical care, mental health services, and enrichment activities focused on overall health and social connectedness. These include basic medical care, mammograms and women's health services, hiv screenings, and physical and mental health assessments; preventive care to reduce diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and other chronic diseases prevalent in this population; psychiatric sessions, mental health counseling, and group therapy; and self-care workshops, fitness classes, and cultural outings provided by volunteers and donors.

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 1

This place is not worth one star.
This women center is for staff and volunteers social and economic advancement. Homeless women who need housing clothes or resources get nothing but exploited and treated like dogs or cattle. Homeless women are "fronted off" in front of volunteers and people who donate food and money then staff keep everything for themselves. Most people are fooled by the grinning staff but they should be investigated because staff is corrupt, practice nepotism and are stealing from the government through grants then keeping everything for themselves then they threaten to kick homeless women out of shelter if they ask for clothes or housing.
They lock the door during breakfast and lunch as a way to control embarrass and disgrace the hungry women who are outside begging to get in. If homeless woman need shoes staff will yell at her loudly in front of everyone and tell her there are no shoes (it makes the homeless woman look like she is begging) then staff tell her she must fill out form to get shoes and it could take weeks. Then staff will say they only give shoes to women who walk in bare footed.
Clothes are constantly donated to the downtown women center and homeless women must sit and watch while staff take all shoes and new clothes for themselves and leave rags for the homeless women to pick through. Cases of meat are delivered to the shelter every day yet the homeless women are never served meat. The supervisor over the kitchen never wear gloves while preparing food and regardless of how much food is prepared by volunteers or donated -- staff never allow homeless women to get a second plate. Staff treat homeless women like trained dogs to make themselves look good in front of volunteers and people who donate. You will notice the "great reviews," are coming from volunteers not homeless women. The relationship between staff and homeless woman is the oppressor and oppressed. There are homeless women who have gone to downtown women center for years and are still homeless. Who do you believe the downtown women center is helping? The staff look at homeless women with hate in their eyes as if homeless women existence is inconveniencing them. Staff attitude is-----if homeless women don't like how they are treated at DWC then they don't have to be there.

1 Lisa2345678


Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with the DWC's Cooking Club program for six years. A group of people get together one evening, everyone brings ingredients, and cooks a meal for around 75 people to be served at lunch the next day. It's fun and it feels like I'm doing something specific and useful for people. I've also learned some great cooking tips. I recently got trained as a Kitchen Leader to help the DWC host even more Cooking Club groups. The DWC is a great place, which provides so many important resources for homeless women, including showers, P.O. boxes, a health clinic and computer classes.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Please note that Charity Navigator does not fully reflect all that was happening at the Downtown Women's Center in 2009 -- most notably, the fund-raising for and construction of an expanded home for the organization. Now open, the building renovated with proceeds of DWC's 2009 capital campaign has increased DWC's permanent housing from 47 to 71 units, added a medical and mental health clinic, and provided approximately 75% more space for Day Center programs, including meals, shower facilities, workshops, and case management. In January 2011, the first full month that the building was open, nearly 6400 meals were served, already more than twice the number served in January of the prior year.

While the larger site has allowed DWC to greatly expand its programs, the millions of dollars raised and used for the site's renovation are not reported as a program expense. However, the cost of raising money for the renovation was reported as a fund-raising expense. As a result, 2009 fund-raising expenses appeared high compared to program expenses and DWC's rating was downgraded from 4 stars to 3 stars. However, capital campaign fund-raising expenditures in 2009 raised funds to help provide a much larger building, ultimately allowing DWC's programs to serve far more women and serve them better.

Review from CharityNavigator


Rating: 5

I have been volunteering more years than I can remember. I have helped make meals and have them delivered. This is a great organization that uses its resources wisely. Everyone is so appreciative of the work that I do and the women and staff are so kind. They really treat you so well that it makes you want to give your money and your time. I also like that all women are welcome in the community and that they treat each woman with so much respect and help them find housing, jobs, reunite with families, counseling and so much more.



Rating: 5

The Downtown Women's Center is one of those places that the minute you walk through the doors, you know you're in the right place. The organization provides a warm loving spot for the women of Los Angeles' skid row to gather and be cared for. It's an amazing organization with an amazing staff and amazing volunteers who support the incredible women of skid row.