Two South End organizations dedicated to improving the lives of homeless women in Boston collaborated recently to provide improvements to a Massachusetts Avenue emergency homeless shelter.
Thanks to a donation from Rosie's Place, a South End non-profit, the Woods-Mullen Shelter located at 784 Mass. Ave was able to renovate the bathroom facilities for the female guests. The shelter is owned and operated by the Boston Public Health Commission and provides housing for up to 66 women.
Beth Grand, Co-Director of Homeless Services at the Boston Public Health Commission, said in a statement that a nice bathroom is an easy thing to take for granted when you have stable housing, but it makes all the difference in the world when you don’t.
“The women here are thrilled with the new facilities, but we’re even more grateful that our partnership with Rosie’s Place extends far beyond this renovation process," she said.
Since the spring, Rosie’s Place and Woods-Mullen have been working together to provide the emergency shelter’s female guests with new tools to help them find work and housing. A caseworker from Rosie’s Place spends time each week at the shelter conducting vocational counseling and job placement services, which approximately 50 women have taken advantage of thus far, according to the Boston Public Health Commission. A full-time housing advocate funded by Rosie’s Place has also been working intensely with women at Woods-Mullen to support them in their search for more permanent housing.
Rosie’s Place has also begun leading a monthly arts group for women at Woods-Mullen, and volunteers from the organization’s Friendly Visitor Program hold weekly games and activities for women there. While these programs offer an escape for the women from their daily routines, Woods-Mullen and Rosie’s Place staff view them as way to form relationships and begin outreach to a population that can be hard to engage with services. By creating a bond between shelter guests and staff, the two organizations are hoping that the women will be more willing to seek career counseling and housing support services.
Sue Marsh, Executive Director at Rosie’s Place said the organization is grateful that for the partnership with Woods-Mullen.
"Together, we can create a community that shows the world how justice looks,” she said.