Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Women's Room

It's not fancy, but to some people it's the closest thing to home they've got. 

I think if I were homeless I'd be afraid all the time. Tired, too. And I'd do what I could to find my way to the safety of The Women's Room at the Friends In Deed House, 444 E. Washington Blvd., at the corner of Los Robles.

Here's a description from Wired Women, a local newsletter written and compiled by Monica Hubbard:
"This project started, as many do, with a small group of women sitting around a patio table trying to discern where there were some 'gaps' in local human services for women that we might fill. After a year of research it became apparent that homeless women who were single, had no families and generally were a bit older, needed some special help. After a few little projects we decided these women needed a welcoming place to go just to get off their feet and out of inclement weather during the day."

I like reading about the germination of this idea--how the women put careful thought into the best way to go about it, then really stuck with it. The Women's Room flourishes.

The Pasadena Star-News recently featured The Women's Room and a quilting project created by clients and volunteers. The article gives you an idea of what The Women's Room is like and what it means to those who find their way there. 

It seems those gaps Monica mentioned are being filled.

The Women's Room is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, and from 9 a.m. to noon Thursdays. For more information, call 626-797-2402. You can also volunteer: contact Jackie Knowles at TWRandFriends@aol.com.


Dina said...

Your post and the news story are very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Petrea, thanks so much for blogging about The Women's Room. This project has been a labor of love from the beginning and we're so grateful for the support coming from all corners of the community. ~ Monica

Virginia said...

Bless them for the work that they are doing.

Susan Campisi said...

It would be terrifying to be homeless. Thanks for posting about women banding together to help women who are. It also reminds me of how fortunate I am to have a roof over my head and a warm bed.

Petrea said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I agree with you all--it's inspiring and I bless them, and I'm grateful for a roof over my head.

Monica, thank you. I took this picture the same day your newsletter came and that seemed serendipitous! If you'd like to use this space to mention any special needs The Women's Room has now, or anything else you'd like to say, go right ahead.

Margaret said...

The words over the door could describe any place that Monica visits.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I know who these women are. I see them on my foot travels all the time. They move in the direction of the burbs. I won't say exactly where. It's obvious to me that they're trying to keep a low profile; and their cars from impound

I noticed how few hours the "room" is open. Sad

pasadenapio said...

The Women's Room is a noble and wonderful place. For homeless women, simply having a place to take a shower, write a letter, do a load of wash, borrow clothes for a job interview, etc., is pure magic.

Jackie Knowles made a presentation at a Women's Civic League luncheon about a year ago and it was very inspiring. God bless the volunteers who make all of this possible.

Petrea said...

I think you're right, Margaret. Jackie Knowles, too.

I noticed that, too, PA. Wouldn't it be great if it could be open 24/7/365? More volunteers, more money, a space that's available exclusively for this purpose. Keep the donations coming and it will happen.

Ann, I think so, too. Just being able to be clean--such a huge deal. I had the good fortune to meet Jackie because we have a mutual friend. What a lovely person she is, and so dedicated to this place.

Jean Spitzer said...

Lovely tribute to these very thoughtful women.

Speedway said...

I once read that women are the "invisible homeless" because we are used to seeing women out during the day, shopping, doing chores errands ... whatever. So it may never occur to us that the bedraggled woman we may see in the grocery is actually there for the free samples as it may be the only food she has all day.

Given the statement that alot of us are about one paycheck away from poverty, this could be just about any one of us, at any time. Whether it is the loss of a job, the loss of a husband, the falling away of those things that keep us "anchored" in reality, with the right set of circumstances, we could only wish for something as simple as a shower and clean clothes.

Bless and help the organizers of "The Women's Room."

Petrea said...

Thank you, Jean.

Speedway, that's well put. As you said, so many are one paycheck away from these losses, especially in these times. It's my theory that giving to charities like The Women's Room actually helps protect us from such losses.

Rebecca Poulos said...

There is a homeless women who sleeps on a bus bench every night. Then she's gone durning the day. Not sure where she goes. I see her with her small thin blanket and have wondered what I could do for her. I ended up buying her a sleeping bag and some groceries.

The other evening just before dark I drove to her bus bench and there she was. I was a little nervous about going up to her. As got closer and introduced myself I was amazed at her warmth and beauty. She looked clean and put together even though I think she may only have one or two outfits. She hand two small bundles with her that were neatly wrapped and easy to carry.

Her name was Delores. We spoke for about 20 mins or so. She was so lovely and sweet. I asked if she had family and she said she did and that they lived near by but that they were not good people. I asked if she had any children and she said she had a daughter and grandkids somewhere in the south. I asked if they knew of her situation and she said no because she didn't want to be a burden.

Delores told me she couldn't use the sleeping bag even though she is very cold most nights. The city won't allow homeless to use anything for cover other than a twin blanket. I felt so badly about that and so wished she could have taken it. I insisted leaving the groceries even though she was very proud and didn't seem to be wanting hand outs.

She told me that she'd been ill and on disability and that's why she's homeless. Delores wants nothing more than her own place. She said she wished she could find a place to share with a roommate but it seemed that she had no way to go about doing that. She also mentioned that it's hard to get a job when you have no clothes or any real routine in life.....or something like that.

Anyway, I'd love to find a way to help her. I will reach out to The Women's Room today when they're open to see if they have any ideas.

Breaks my heart.