I was recently approached about working with the Downtown Women’s Center here in Los Angeles (servicing homeless women in the skid row area) on their big renovation Project Home. I’ll go into all the details in a minute, but the short version is DWC is well underway into a huge expansion project and I offered to donate a wallpaper to the reception area of the building. As I met with the architect, the designer I am working with, and the director of DWC I learned that they had originally planned to have a large scale wallpaper on each of the residential floors just as you step out of the elevator. It was something they wanted to add to welcome home the residents.
Well, the budget for that has been reallocated to other areas of the building. When I heard that, I offered that if we can find a way to raise money to cover the material and printing costs I would design and take care of doing wallpaper for each floor. So, it is on me to raise the money and I thought at the same time this would be a great experiment on social media. Can we raise enough money for the project by just word of mouth(or tweet)?
We need to raise $2500 but I would love to raise $5000 and also do something special for the common living areas on each floor, but that is just a crazy dream at the moment. Anything that is raised above what we actually end up spending on the production of the wallpaper will be donated to DWC.
So, all I am asking from everyone out there reading this is to spread the word and make a small donation if you can. We are hoping that a lot of people will make small donations and spread the word until we meet our goal. How amazing would it be to see people from all over the world donating to help??
So there are a couple of ways to donate. You can click on the donate button below and make a donation of $5/$10/$20 or whatever you feel you can afford. This will come directly to our paypal account and will be flagged for this project. Unfortunately these will not be tax deductible donations. That has to be done through DWC. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation or just feel uncomfortable sending a donation directly to Black Crow Studios then please contact Brooke Lykins, the Capital Campaign Manager, email@example.com or 213.680.0600 ext. 203 and let her know it is for the wallpaper by Black Crow Studios and she will make sure the money gets flagged for our project.
I am really looking forward to seeing how this works out and I am excited to see if we can meet our goal using social media! So please pass this around to anybody and everybody you can and urge them to make a small donation. Thank you in advance!!
So now you know what I am specifically raising money for, I am going to share with you the history of the shelter and the services they offer and I am sure it will touch you as much as it has touched me.
The mission of Downtown Women’s Center is to provide permanent supportive housing and a safe and healthy community fostering dignity, respect, and personal stability and to advocate ending homelessness for women.
The following is copied from the DWC website:
Creating Safe Space for Women
Before DWC opened our doors in 1978, homeless women in the heart of Los Angeles had no place to turn for shelter and support. Skid Row and its surrounding streets were in every respect a man’s world — its shelters, pantries and social services accessible only to men.
DWC began as the result of one woman’s deep concern for the well-being of mentally ill women who found themselves destitute and on the streets of Los Angeles following the closure of psychiatric hospitals in the early 1970’s.
The Day Center
The majority of the women who drop in to the DWC Day Center live on the streets, in encampments, or in night-to-night shelters. The Day Center provides a respite from the rigors of street life in a nurturing and safe community environment. On average, 140 women a day drop in to the Day Center where three meals — breakfast, lunch and a hearty afternoon snack — are served seven days a week. Women come to use clean, private bathrooms and showers. They rest in day beds, use laundry facilities, make phone calls, secure a mailing address, or get a fresh change of clothes. Most participants of our Day Center endure the extreme stress and difficulty of life on the streets. Mental illness, substance abuse, physical disability, and victimization are their most prevalent and persistent issues. Their individual stories, however, vary widely. Some are second-generation homeless, having never experienced the stability of a home life. Some gravitated to the Skid Row community after aging out of the foster care system, escaping violence, or as a consequence of drug addictions developed in their youth. In contrast to our Residents, many Day Center participants are young – below the age of 30.
DWC’s Residence provides service-enriched, permanent housing for women who once lived on the streets. Each Resident has her own private apartment with a refrigerator, desk, full-size bed, and closet. Each floor of the Residence features a cozy community room with comfortable seating, a library, and TV, a common bath area, and a kitchen where residents can share in meal preparation and clean-up. On-site Residence Managers – available 24 hours a day – work with residents on an individual basis to assist in meeting each woman’s needs and goals, providing community building and other support services. In addition, for many of our Residents, paying the nominal monthly rent is an important step toward self-sufficiency and regaining and reclaiming life beyond the streets. For formerly homeless women, the DWC Residence is home. They are safe to create a community of friends and be part of a family that accepts and cherishes them. Our goal is to help the women to break isolation by providing ample opportunities for residents to cultivate a sense of belonging – outings, celebrations and other activities encourage connection with other women. At DWC, women gain a sense of safety and stability which encourages reconnection with a world that was once lost to them.
The DWC Residence contains 47 apartments, offering permanent supportive housing and a community environment. Residents typically share certain characteristics – a mental illness, physical or emotional disability, and circumstances of aging and misfortune that have led to homelessness. Even so, in important ways, they are a richly diverse population. Differing socio-economic backgrounds account for a wide range of educational levels and life experience. Some of the women have never held a job, as a result of mental and/or physical illness or having relied on husbands or other family members for support. Others have advanced degrees and progressed in professional careers before the misfortunes such as mental illness or domestic violence which led to their homelessness intervened.
DWC’s services include meals, personalized case management, a weekly on-site medical clinic, health workshops and screenings, computer literacy classes, government benefits advocacy, support groups, and job counseling. Self-expression classes, art workshops, creative writing workshops, and poetry groups help women communicate feelings that are often difficult to express. We celebrate every holiday and each woman’s birthday, and conduct outings to cultural venues. These regular social and cultural activities are designed to create a community for the women and our team of over 700 active volunteers.
Project Home is DWC’s dramatic expansion to:
– increase Day Center services by 75%
– increase housing by 158%
– open downtown’s first medical and mental health clinic for uninsured women
– launch an innovative social enterprise
—all in a LEED-Certified green rennovated historical building!
Then after all of that, they are going to renovate their current building and that is more housing for more women!