Spring is a time for refreshing spaces and reevaluating habits. At YWCA Dayton, we’re constantly looking for opportunities to better serve our clients who come to us seeking short- and long-term care.
As one of the only social service agencies in the Dayton area to remain open 24/7 during the COVID-19 pandemic, not only were we able to maintain our full range of services, but we also saw our team rise to the occasion, developing ways to improve standard practices, despite the challenging circumstances.
Last year alone, YWCA Dayton’s domestic violence services sheltered 264 women and children and answered 5,558 crisis calls. Of those we serve each year, an average of 365 are walk-in clients with immediate needs. One of the most recent changes at our downtown shelter aims to improve the experience for these individuals.
Women in dangerous situations are often forced to leave home quickly with very few personal possessions, and so we need to be ready for any and every possibility. Common issues that we see among walk-in clients include a lack of transportation, inadequate clothing and food insecurity. Many also suffer from homelessness, substance abuse and untreated mental health concerns as a result of intimate-partner violence.
“Our first priority when clients walk in to our downtown shelter is to create a safe space where they know people care, said Leslie Impastato, crisis services manager. “Part of creating such an environment is ensuring survivors have access to the supplies they need to feel at ease as they transition out of dangerous situations and unstable environments.”
Previously, our staff would have to go from floor to floor gathering supplies stored in various locations throughout our building. But not anymore! The relocated supply closet improves efficiency and centralizes essential items at an accessible location.
Truly a group effort, this project involved collaboration across multiple departments with input from our crisis services, clinical and volunteer teams. Part of developing a plan involved identifying potential locations that might offer quick access to meet client needs. An empty closet near our main entrance seemed like the perfect spot to store supplies – a simple solution that made sense to everyone involved!
Here are some of the items available to clients in the newly-relocated and expanded closet:
- Bottled water
- Hygiene bags with travel size toiletries
- Socks and underwear
- Blankets, scarves, hats and gloves
- Nonperishable snacks
These items become essential lifelines for walk-in clients who have recently left a relationship, are experiencing homelessness or are dealing with a mental health crisis. Having access to these items may seem insignificant, but to those having lived through abusive situations, it could be the first step toward a future filled with hope.
Every day, we continue to advocate for women and children’s safety and freedom from abuse. Learn more about how we’re building safe futures and addressing violence against women and girls across the Miami Valley.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic violence, YWCA Dayton can help.
24/7 Crisis Hotline: 937-222-SAFE.