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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Houston Area Women's Center, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Domestic Violence, Family Violence Shelters, Homeless & Housing, Hot Lines & Crisis Intervention, Mental Health, Sexual Assault Services

Mission: The Houston Area Women''s Center helps individuals affected by domestic and sexual violence in their efforts to move their lives forward. We provide shelter, counseling and advocacy to support them in building lives free from the effects of violence. We seek social change to end domestic and sexual violence through community awareness and education. Our services are confidential and available to everyone.

Programs: The Houston Area Women's Center's programs include two 24-hour hotlines, residential support services, nonresidential support services and community education and primary prevention components. All services are provided free of charge. The Women's Center serves all women, men, and children, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, faith, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background.

The Hotline program provides a domestic violence hotline and a sexual assault hotline. Both hotlines are open 24-hours a day, and can be answered in almost any language and for the hearing impaired. The hotline provides crisis intervention and access to the counseling and residential programs.

The residential program provides safe, emergency shelter for 125 women and children domestic violence or sexual assault survivors. Survivors can stay in the shelter for up to 90 days. The shelter includes not just residential space, but an onsite daycare and makes educational arrangements for school age children through the Houston Independent School District, as well as a job training facility for adults.

The non-residential program provides individual and group counseling for survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence--women, men, teens and children. This program also provides long term housing assistance including rental and utility assistance, legal advocacy for survivors, and court-based advocacy for children/youth involved as victim/witnesses in the criminal justice system. The Women's Center provides domestic violence support groups for both adults and their children and sexual assault support groups for adults and teens. Friends and family members of survivors can also access supportive and educational group services.

The community affairs program provides education and training on the prevention and elimination of domestic violence and sexual violence. Education programs are provided in English and Spanish. Teen dating violence prevention programs target middle and high school teens. Primary prevention programs are also targeted to underserved populations such as the African American, Hispanic and youth populations. 

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Called HAWC and even though we had never dealt with them before, they sent someone to the hospital to advocate for my friend after a violent sexual assault. The woman they sent was a rape survivor, and made sure all procedures were followed correctly, gave emotional support, and even brought a clean set of sweat pants and a clean t-shirt, so my friend would have clothing to wear home.

What was truly awesome about our experience was the free of charge sexual assault counseling we were both able to participate in at the Women's Center. It was basically group therapy, run by a counselor and the survivors themselves, meeting once a week and encouraging each other. Wonderful resource. This was back when Ellen Cohen was the CEO there, and we are excited to see her go on to be involved in local politics. We love you, Ellen!

3

Client Served

Rating: 2

Ideally, a great safe place for abused women. BUT Ms Ti, the case worker/advocate is not helpful. Very rude and deaming to residents. Causes women to lose jobs to attend her 'mandatory meetings'. Her moods decide who will get a bus voucher. This should be a place to help women get back on their feet and not down the pit back to the hands of the abuser or welfare system

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a member of the Houston Area Women's Center Young Leaders group. We are dedicated to raising awareness about HAWC, fundraising, and volunteering for causes that align with the goals of the shelter.
I volunteer with kids at the shelter on a regular basis; the shelter serves women who are survivors of domestic abuse, giving them and their children a place to stay while they get their feet under them. They also teach new life skills by offering emotional and vocational counseling. The other main focus of HAWC is their Center on Waugh. The center offers couples counseling, hotline/crisis intervention, educational classes, and numerous other resources to the Houston community.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Houston Area Women's Center is an agency that provides counseling, shelter, and other services for survivors of domestic violence. The staff and volunteers are amazing and have a passion for giving back to their communities. I would definitely recommend this agency to those seeking services and for those wanting to volunteer and give back. The Race Against Violence is a great place to start!

Review from Guidestar

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Having had personal experience with domestic and sexual violence, learning about the Houston Area Women's Center was very encouraging and empowering for me. The work they do with community outreach and local organizations brought them to my attention and I am very grateful for their expertise and kindness. I was able to learn more about the kind of person I want to be. I brought a friend who needed guidance to the center where we both were offered resources and information to help us on our way. I am now looking to do volunteer work with HAWC and I am nothing but joyful to help this organization continue to do good work for our community.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with HAWC for almost 2 years now and the organization continues to amaze me as I become more involved. They truly care about our community and the women, men, and children they serve. I feel very lucky to be a part of their mission.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've only recently begun to volunteer with the Houston Area Women's Center but I am consistently impressed by the work they do to serve clients and promote awareness within the Houston community. They provide many different ways to get involved and provide life saving services. It's truly an organization worth your time and/or money, whatever little you can provide they will happily work with.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Houston Area Women's Center is a wonderful non-profit organization serving all Houstonians, men, women, and children, who have experienced domestic and/or sexual violence. I am so proud to be a volunteer and donor of such a wonderful organization. The ultimate goal of HAWC is to put itself "out of business" and I really appreciate that each employee strives to achieve this goal, especially as a survivor of sexual assault.

There are three things I would like to mention in my review that may not be mentioned by other volunteers on this site:

1) The training and education department is fantastic. The trainings aren't just classes where you sit and take notes -- they are interactive. If you have a question, Renee and her wonderful team make sure that you feel comfortable enough to ask that question and to provide you with excellent information. I have enjoyed the trainings and I have learned so much. Because of those trainings, I was able to help a friend in crisis. She told me that I was the very first person who told her that what happened to her wasn't her fault. Can you believe it? In 2014, people are still victim-blaming their own friends! Ugh. Anyway, I can't say enough good things about the training department!

2) The employees at HAWC are some of the nicest and best people I have ever met. I am honored to have worked with these wonderful folks. Much like Ken said, they are passionate, warm, caring, and great at their jobs.

3) Even though I received help at my school after my sexual assault and I know the assault was not my fault, it means so, so much to go to a place like HAWC and just feel safe/normal/comforted. Everyone there is on your side, everyone there wants you to move forward with your life -- to live, not just survive. It's amazing.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I think Natzira has a horrible perception of reality. I've been a client at HAWC twice now, and no fault of their own for me returning. My life situation collapsed and put me right in my abuser's path some half a year after I left (one job went bankrupt and another employer broke their probation agreements and... yeah...) Any way about it, this is an amazing facility. When things collapsed I ended up at another shelter at the SonRise Community Church--now THAT is everything Nat described HAWC as. Unkempt, unsanitary, prison (no windows, cement walls, no air conditioning, take 60% of ANY income you have, take away your food stamp card). HAWC is the exact opposite. They are empowering, provide food, clean shelter, care, counseling, a career development center, daycare, playgrounds, in-site school, events to maintain a positive atmosphere, and even housing. If someone didn't get housing it's generally their own fault. Your only requirement is to have or get a job. That's it. If you are disabled they send you to other people who can get you Section-8 with disability instead. Don't let that review fool you. Someone just didn't get a job. It's amazing and when I knew I was in trouble again I knew exactly where to go, and desperately called OUT of the other place I got stuck in. HAWC is the place to go.

2 Sara98

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The staff is very kind and helpful. I remember walking in and everyone greets me with a smile. It gave me the opportunity to help others which was important to me. I loved volunteering there for the short time that I was able. I hope to return one day because it was too short!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HAWC is a wonderful organization. Making a difference in someones life is an awesome feeling. HAWC HAVE GIVEN ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I enjoy seeing people make life changing decisions. HAWC equipping the volunteer to be of help is also awesome. Showing others that someone cares is priceless. Being a nonprofit organization is great. Thank you HAWC for making a difference in my life also. BARBARA SANDS

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

HAWC is a great organization providing a service that can change the lives of a person and mean the difference between life and death for some of their victims. They not only provide the victims with a safe shelter, but provide love and care for them and their children.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the Board of the Houston Area Women's Center for about a year and a half. I believe in the work that they do and the people that do it. Much needed help is provided to many people of all ages who suffer from the worst agony possible. I love to hear the client stories that speak of healing, restoration and a new found love for themselves. And there is no judgment. I believe that what HAWC provides to the Houston area is the difference between life and death for many.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer with the Houston Area Women's Center Young Leaders for about a year and a half. I started by volunteering at the fundraisers and attending advocacy events. I later decided to attend the training to allow me to volunteer at their shelter. Since then, I've never looked back. The survivors, especially the children, HAWC serve get the best service from employees and volunteers who are passionate about empowering them for the future. The social media outreach and Young Leaders group have done great things to get the entire community involved in ending domestic violence.

Review from Guidestar

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe in HAWC’s mission. They are a great organization providing a service that could mean the difference between life and death for some of their victims. They not only provide the victims with a safe haven. But they nurture them so they may become whole again. I will continue to support them in many ways - volunteering, donating, and organizing a drive to collect urgent and ongoing needs items.

Rebeca Rodriguez

Review from Guidestar

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I don't know what to think about this place. I walked in the other morning asking for help and they told me to come back at 1:00. I thought that HAWC was about helping women. What kind of organization puts a time frame on help?

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Houston Area Women's Center serves a vital role in the Houston community and you'd be hard pressed to think of a more important *and* effective local charitable organization. I am honored to be a HAWC volunteer and donor. As I'm doing here, I evangelize HAWC quite frequently so that others might receive the same warm fuzzies that I do when supporting the organization. At the same time, I, like the employees there, work towards making HAWC obsolete, reducing and ultimately eliminating sexual and domestic violence. Tragically, we're nowhere close to achieving that goal.

I've been a volunteer at HAWC for more than a year. During interactions with employees from HAWC, I've been struck by the passion, the strength, the warmth, the work ethic, and the competence of everyone there. In all honesty, it's slightly irritating because watching them in action makes me feel like a slacker who hasn't been doing all he can to make the world a better place. However, these impressive individuals have sacrificed salary and time to work for a cause that they, and every right-minded person, believes in. Yes, it may be a little irritating, but it's also inspiring.

HAWC's clients appreciate this even more than I ever could. One of my fondest memories volunteering at HAWC was having a client tell me:

A) How much she appreciated all that HAWC has done for them in their time of trouble.

B) How eagerly she anticipated a time in the near future when she could volunteer at HAWC to pay forward the kindness that was shown to her.

That was amazing to hear. It was just as amazing when a different client told me the same thing a couple months later.

I assume anyone reading this would support HAWC's mission. Moreover, they should know there is much work left to be done in assisting victims sexual and domestic violence and, optimally, preventing the violence from occurring in the first place. These crimes are vastly underreported and many victims do not know where to turn and that HAWC exists to support them.

By supporting them, not only will you be supporting that mission, but you'll be doing so in the most effective way possible because of the quality of employees and quality of *people* at the Houston Area Women's Center. I strongly encourage you to research them further, for I am confident that you will confirm the high praise that I have given them is warranted.

Review from CharityNavigator

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a member of the Houston Area Women's Center Young Leaders group in November of 2011. So far, I have really enjoyed the Young Leaders group because it allows me to meet other young professionals who are passionate about ending domestic and sexual violence, and because it gives me many opportunities to further the mission of the Women's Center. I have become a member of the Race Against Violence planning committee, have attended our regular monthly meetings, have helped plan our first two happy hours (at the first we collected donations for the holiday store, and at the second we will be raising money for the Women's Center), and have had the opportunity to take a shelter tour. I feel that being a part of the Young Leaders group truly makes a difference in the fight against domestic and sexual violence, and for the thousands of clients who utilize the services of the Women's Center every year. I have also learned a tremendous amount about domestic and sexual violence, and about how to make a positive impact in the community. I am excited to continue working with HAWC through the Young Leaders group and more!

Review from CharityNavigator

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at HAWC since 2004. Most of my volunteer work has been with the child clients. One of my favorite activities is the annual back-to-school drive which we begin planning for in February and complete in August. The volunteer committee and I have been fortunate enough to collect new school supplies and backpacks for over 1,200 children each year. All of the items given to the children are donated by many generous individuals, companies and groups in Houston. Continuing education is very important to me for I believe that through education we can overcome ignorance and hopefully help kids obtain the tools they need to break the cycle of domestic abuse when it exists in their families. By providing these supplies and backpacks we are able to give a little “normal” back to these kids and also take away a potential cause for them not to return to school. It is always so wonderful for me to see how happy and excited these kids are when they are able to select their own backpack and other goodies we have collected for them. And I know how appreciative their mothers and fathers are from the feedback we receive. In the end, I always wonder who really gets the most out of this event – the the kids and their families - or the staff and volunteers who help them.

It has been my honor and privilege to work with and get to know several truly exceptional people over the past several years. Of course I am talking about my fellow volunteers who believe in the mission of HAWC as much as I do. Their compassion, dedication, vision and fortitude constantly amazes me and I know I am a better person for having worked beside them in helping as many children as we have. I am confident that the future of our world has been brightened by their acts of hard work, generosity and kindness!

But for me, the real heroes are the members of the staff I get to work with. They never cease to amaze me – how they get up every day and fight to end domestic and sexual violence. These women are in the trenches everyday – standing up for what is right, effecting social change and making an impact on the lives of these children and families. It is apparent these individuals were called to their profession by their words and actions. I truly believe they are making a positive change in our world - one child at a time! HAWC has been a great place for me to volunteer and I have recruited family and friends to help me. I look forward to the opportuntities that await us in 2012.

3 Natzira A.

Client Served

Rating: 1

II left my abusar. .I Was there for more than three months...its a horrible place..i felt like i Was in jail. .They discriminanted me. .They treted me like a criminal. .The school is dirty. .Te daycare is nasty and full of viruses. .They admit drugs and pretend dont see. ..They know than we dont have choice because we are homeless. .They sent me torio the streets without no shelter..no money. .No help at allí..i have four kids living in my care...pleace i want to raice my voice forma those womens who suffer like me...than you.