Founded in 1978, Downtown Women’s Center’s (DWC) mission is to end women’s homelessness in greater Los Angeles through housing, wellness, and advocacy. DWC remains the only local organization in Los Angeles that is exclusively dedicated to addressing the immediate and long-term needs of women overcoming homelessness and extreme poverty. DWC reaches 3,500 vulnerable women across Los Angeles County per year through its women’s day center, housing placements and permanent supportive housing programs, health and wellness services, and job readiness programs.
In response to COVID-19, DWC had to adapt its services to meet the increased needs of its vulnerable population. It partnered with Los Angeles County on Project Roomkey, an initiative to open hotels and motels as shelters for people experiencing homelessness who are over 65 or have underlying health conditions. DWC opened the first women-only motel serving 60 women with chronic health conditions. It continues to operate its 119 units of permanent supportive housing and provides bridge housing in its Day Center for 25 women. In addition to housing, DWC has doubled its meals and grocery services by 200%, now serving 100 meals daily. It also continues to operate its on-site health clinic, providing comprehensive health assessments and weekly COVID-19 tests for its participants and staff.