Downtown Womens Center

Rating: 4.2 stars   5 reviews

Nonprofit Issues:

Mental Health, Homeless & Housing, Human Services


325 S Los Angeles St Los Angeles CA 90013 USA


The mission of the Downtown Women's Center is to provide permanent supportive housing and a safe and healthy community fostering dignity, respect, and personal stability, and to advocate ending homelessness for women. Founded in 1978, DWC is a nationally recognized model for effective services for homeless women and has been a prototype for programs in Texas, New Orleans and Los Angeles.

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Reviews for Downtown Womens Center

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As a Board member and a twice a week volunteer working with DWC participants over several years, I have seen how access to comfortable stable housing, regular meals, case management, mental health services, job training, and participation in the supportive DWC community has immensely improved the lives of many women who had been living in extreme poverty.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand its services to help more women escape or avoid homelessness.

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