The clock is ticking for the South Orange County YWCA.
Last June, an anonymous donor gave the agency a $50,000 gift to help open a new shelter for women with children--on condition that it be matched with $100,000 in donations by the end of the year.
So far, the YWCA has raised $75,000, including a $25,000 donation from Santa Ana residents Jim and Florence Lukens. That leaves $25,000 to go, said executive director Mary Douglas.
“We will get it,” she said. “We’re not going to lose it.”
The donations are being used to start the Second-Stage residence on the second floor of a former medical clinic at Washington Avenue and Durant Street in Santa Ana. The first floor houses a YWCA day-care center which opened in July.
The program is for women with children who complete the YWCA’s 60- day Beyond Shelter program, which offers them food, a place to live, counseling and help finding work.
Women with children have a particularly difficult time, Douglas said. While they are living at the 38-resident hotel, they are separated from their children, who must stay either with friends or relatives or at Orangewood Children’s Home.
And once they’re out on their own, it is difficult to find affordable housing and get on their feet financially, Douglas said. At the Second-Stage residence, their rent will be low enough--an estimated $250 a month--that they will be able to save money. And having the day-care center just downstairs will be handy.
“We feel that’s a strong support system to help women get their lives back together,” Douglas said.
The residence, expected to open in March, will house four women and their children, in four bedrooms with a common kitchen, living room and dining area.
Such programs are desperately needed in Orange County, Douglas said. Each day the YWCA turns away 12 to 15 women because there is no room.