A New Day For Homeless Single Women

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UMOM New Day Centers, Arizona’s largest provider of shelter and services to homeless people, dedicated its new Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation Women’s Center today. When the Center opens to clients in July, it will be the first shelter in Maricopa County designed expressly for single women experiencing homelessness.

For the past 20 years, homeless women have been cared for at the Watkins Emergency Shelter, sleeping on cots in a cavernous open room. Every morning, up to 130 women must compete to use only 30 showers, then are required to stay away from the shelter between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. They receive just one meal each day and live with a near-constant threat of violence.
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“Fifteen years ago, when I first started as CEO at UMOM and visited Watkins for the first time, I knew someday we could do better,” said UMOM CEO Darlene Newsom. “I seldom left Watkins not in tears.”

The new Halle Women’s Center is located on the site of a former motel, a property purchased by UMOM and refurbished to create a safe, secure, temporary home for women rebuilding their lives. Because the women can stay on-campus during the day, it will be much easier to connect them to the services they need to move from homelessness to permanent housing.
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“We took a good step with the opening of Watkins. Good services were provided there,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Now, we’ve gone from good to great. This is a huge improvement and a step in the right direction.”

Rather than sharing space with more than 100 other women, the Halle Center will house two to three women in a room equipped with a private bath. Each room has an emergency pull cord to summon assistance quickly. The Center will be staffed 24/7, with systems and protocols in place to further ensure the safety of every client.
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Each woman will receive three meals a day, prepared in the onsite commercial kitchen, and will have access to laundry facilities as well as a locked space to store personal belongings.

“Like so many of UMOM’s programs and services, the Halle Women’s Center is an innovative approach to ending homelessness,” said Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema in a statement. “For too long, single homeless women in Maricopa County had limited options for emergency shelter…That changes today.”
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Approximately 130 women will live for up to 120 days in the Center, with two beds always reserved for those transported to the facility by first responders.

“We talk a lot about homeless men and homeless families, but how often do we talk about homeless women?” said CEO Newsom, adding, “So you can see why this is a happy day for our community: finally, in 2017, we have a full-service shelter for single women.”

“The women here remind us that life is more than endurance, but the endless possibility to prevail,” said Andrew Bridge, director of the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation.

For more information please contact Alex Scoville at 602-710-2132 or ascoville@umom.org.


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