Womencare Shelter joins YWCA Bellingham

Womencare Shelter, a Bellingham-based nonprofit organization serving survivors of domestic violence since 1979, has become part of YWCA Bellingham, in a move that leaders from both groups say will strengthen and expand services for women in the community.

“For the past few years, Womencare Shelter leaders have been discussing options for strategic growth while evaluating community needs and current services,” said Cathy Craver, chair of Womencare Shelter’s board, in a news release. “The impetus behind this strategic partnership was the expansion of much-needed services for women and children in the community experiencing domestic violence. Both organizations were financially viable, and our partnership with YWCA Bellingham simply serves to strengthen that viability while increasing the impact of our services.”

Womencare Shelter works to end domestic violence by providing an emergency and confidential shelter, 24-hour crisis support services, advocacy-based counseling and community education. The shelter has room for 18 women and children.

In 2012, Womencare Shelter provided 99 adults and 98 children with 4,311 bed nights in its shelter. It also answered 2,152 calls to its 24-hour helpline and provided more than 6,300 hours of advocacy for its clients.

No staff changes are planned at Womencare Shelter with the move.

Leaders of YWCA Bellingham helped launch Womencare Shelter in 1979 and staff members of both organizations have collaborated since then, according to Mary Harrington, president of YWCA Bellingham’s board.

YWCA Bellingham, founded in 1907, has operated since 1915 at 1026 N. Forest St., in a building funded by the Larrabee family.

YWCA Bellingham served 107 single homeless women in 2012 with housing and case management. Its Back to Work Boutique provided assistance to 525 women last year.

Women in need of emergency assistance may continue to call Womencare Shelter’s 24-hour helpline at 360-734-3438 or 877-227-3360.

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