YWCA Northeast Indiana is excited to launch the public portion of our capital campaign “Old Keys Won’t Open New Doors”.
In the past several years, YWCA Northeast Indiana has experienced tremendous growth. In 2018, YWCA Northeast Indiana absorbed all the former Women’s Bureau’s programs, when the agency ceased to operate. This expanded YWCA operations to three locations. Not only was having YWCA programming located in three locations difficult for staff to manage, but the lease payments were over $11,000/month. It became obvious that we needed to run more efficiently and effectively, and the Board voted to find a location to house all YWCA operations—administration and programming—in one building. Unfortunately, we discovered the Decatur Road location could not provide adequate space for us to expand enough to meet the growing needs.
After a long search, and countless visits to existing potential sites, YWCA decided to move forward in purchasing the former Don Hall’s Guesthouse on Washington Center Road for $3.2 million. At first, this 86,000 square foot building seemed too big for the needs of YWCA, but since purchasing the building in December 2020, we have established partnerships with three non-profit organizations to better serve our clients.
YWCA is pleased to be partnering with Out of Jam Ministries, who will not only run their operations in our building but will provide culinary educational training for any of YWCA’s interested clients. Out of Jam will have their offices in YWCA’s new building and use a portion of the commercial-sized kitchen. Additionally, the Bowen Center will be using a portion of the building for a health clinic, providing physical and mental health services to the community as well as to YWCA staff and clients. And, lastly, in collaboration with the Fort Wayne Housing Authority, we are renovating a portion of the building to offer 13 permanent supportive housing apartments for survivors of domestic violence. Affordable housing is one of the top needs of YWCA clients, and we are thrilled the FWHA will be providing project-based vouchers for all 13 apartments. YWCA CEO Paula Hughes-Schuh shares, “Partnering with these three top-tier nonprofits establishes connections and emphasizes the client-focused approach of YWCA Northeast Indiana.”
YWCA looks forward to also growing the number of beds available for women in our addiction residential recovery program. In northeast Indiana, only 26% of the 881 addiction recovery beds available are reserved for women. Women needing residential addiction recovery treatment do not have many places they can go for help. With the new building, we hope to triple the number of beds we currently offer. Additionally, from 2020 through 2022, we experienced a 58% increase in demand for our domestic violence services. We are finding that not only is the demand for our domestic violence services increasing, but the lethality of domestic violence is also increasing in Indiana.
Renovations are underway at YWCA Northeast Indiana’s new home, recently renamed The Hefner Center. The center is named in honor of The William J. and Bonnie L. Hefner Foundation, who invested a significant lead gift during the private phase of the campaign. The Board and staff at YWCA Northeast Indiana hope members of our community will join those who have given during the private phase of our capital campaign as we launch our public phase. YWCA Northeast has had tremendous community support resulting in the $16.7 million project being almost 100% funded; however, we still need about $600,000.
For more information on this capital campaign, and to learn about some unique naming opportunities, visit our New Doors page on our website at ywcanein.org/new-doors/.