The mission of the YWCA to empower women and eliminate racism looks different in each community. Locally the YWCA Lewiston-Clarkston focuses on services and shelter for victims of domestic and sexual violence and abuse.
Originally formed as a meeting space for women, the local YWCA became a supportive environment for working women during WWII. The YWCA Lewiston, ID-Clarkston, WA started in the Lewis-Clark valley in 1919 providing recreational activities, employment assistance, citizenship classes, a lunch room for working women and a residency. In the 1940s, working women would gather at the YWCA for lunch. A residence was provided for single working women and women who were attending school, with supervision of course, to preserve the young ladies’ reputation.
Our current location was built in 1961 and the Sue Wheel Domestic Violence Shelter opened in 1983. The YWCA provides domestic violence services to survivors in Nez Perce, Clearwater, Lewis and Idaho counties in Idaho and Asotin and Garfield counties in Washington with offices in Lewiston, Orofino, Kamiah, Grangeville, and Clarkston. We employ 22 people in 5 offices serving seven counties, three counties in southeast WA and four in north-central ID.
The YWCA Lewiston, ID-Clarkston, WA provides quality, trauma-informed services to victims of violence and abuse (male and female) to keep them safe and help them become self-sufficient. Direct client services include 24-hour crisis line, emergency shelter, legal, medical, and personal advocacy, safety planning, crisis intervention, court support, support groups for women and children, information and referral to community resources, childcare, and financial assistance. All services are offered free of charge and all information shared by victims is kept confidential.
Domestic violence and abuse is a pattern of behavior where the abusive partner exercises power and control over the victim. This control can take many forms, from physical and sexual abuse, to emotional and verbal abuse.The abuser often controls everything, chipping away at the victim’s self-confidence by controlling access to supportive friends and family, finances and ability to hold a job, parenting decisions, and choices regarding what to wear or what to have for dinner. The control and manipulation is seldom seen by neighbors or co-workers and is many times reinforced by the threat of physical violence or death.
Often people ask “Why does she stay?” The #1 answer is FEAR. Victims fear the abuser will hurt or kill them.
They fear losing their children or being unable to provide for their children by themselves.They fear being unable to find a job that will enable them to support themselves and their children.They fear being unable to sustain a safe home and becoming homeless.They fear that no one will believe them if they disclose the abuse that is happening in their home.
Survivors who reside in our housing programs meet with an advocate regularly to help them access services and provide information/referral to services in our area. Advocates provide budgeting assistance with survivors and help them to make goals to become self-sufficient and live free from abuse.
YWCA provides 2 types of housing for victims and survivors of domestic abuse: Emergency shelter and Extended/Transitional Housing.
Emergency Shelter provides a safe, secure place for victims who are in danger from their abuser. It is an undisclosed location which provides a safe place for victims to begin healing from the trauma of abuse with the support of our advocacy staff. Advocates assist with safety planning, protection orders, resources, referrals, action plans, budgeting, etc.
Emergency Shelter cinsists of:
- 6 rooms with capacity of 12 beds.
- Shared common areas include kitchen, bathroom, laundry, dining and living rooms, and children’s play room.
- 2016 – 212 sheltered
- 2017 – 242 sheltered, 3463 bednights, average length of stay 14 days
(90% from LC Valley. Only about 10% of victims provided shelter are from the outlying areas)
Extended/ Transitional Housing provides shelter for victims who are homeless as a result of fleeing domestic violence. They are not in danger, but have nowhere to go and no resources. Advocates work with survivors to begin building financial self-sufficiency and move toward independence. This includes safety planning, protection orders, resources, referrals, action plans, budgeting, etc.
Extended/ Transitional Housing consists of:
- 7 rooms with capacity of 14 beds.
- Each efficiency unit has a bunkbed, small kitchenette, and bathroom.
- Shared laundry room and play area.
- 2016 – 49 sheltered
- 2017 – 72 sheltered, 3411 bednights, avg length of stay 47 days