A Safe Haven for Homeless Youth

The Women and Families Center (WFC) of Meriden, Connecticut, began its history in 1889 as the Meriden YWCA, providing a variety of recreational and social programs for women and children. As community needs continued to evolve over the years, the organization ended its affiliation with the YWCA in 2000 and established itself as an independent nonprofit.

Today, WFC is a multi-faceted agency that serves Middlesex County and Greater New Haven. It offers job training programs, crisis services for victims of sexual assault, before- and after-school programs for children, and supportive services for adolescents.

Leviticus Fund recently provided a $600,000 loan to cover a portion of the development costs for one of WFC’s newest projects: the construction of the WYSH House—WYSH stands for Women and Families Center, Youth, Supportive, Housing—a residential facility in Meriden for formerly homeless young adults. The project entails demolishing a 1,052-square-foot building adjacent to WFC’s main office and the construction of a new three-story building on the site. It is WFC’s first loan from Leviticus.

The WYSH House is a component of WFC’s Project REACH program, which provides intervention, education, case management, counseling, and referral services to young people ages 18 to 22. The new facility will include 12 efficiency apartments, each complete with a kitchen and bath, as well as extensive common space, including a community room, shared kitchen, computer lab, and laundry facilities. WFC will provide a variety of supportive services for the residents.

The need for services for Connecticut’s homeless youth is great. The 2020 Youth Outreach and Count, a report published by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, estimated that 7,823 young people in the state would experience homelessness or housing instability during 2020.

Leviticus Fund is honored to support the development of WFC’s new WYSH House—a much-needed step forward in Connecticut’s efforts to protect its young people from the despair and danger that homelessness brings.