United Way Impacts Basic Needs
YWCA Greater Cleveland recognizes the need for supportive housing for young adults, especially those who have aged out of the foster care system. Funded in part by United Way of Greater Cleveland, YWCA’s Independence Place is permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless youth.
Supportive housing provides residents with stable accommodations and connects them with on-site services, including case workers, therapists, a food pantry, child care and access to health care.
Natasha moved into Independence Place in April 2016 after a year in homeless shelters. She lost her apartment after a rent spike and a car repair became too much for her minimum-wage paycheck. Her young daughter lived with extended family while Natasha attempted to continue school at Cleveland State University and get her living situation under control.
“With the staff [at YWCA], no matter who it is, they know your name before you even know them,” she says. “They just give you the whole family feeling like ‘Hey, you’re not by yourself, good morning, good to see you.’”
Once at Independence Place, her daughter came to live with her and the two of them are “taking life one day at a time,” Natasha says. While utilizing the center’s food pantry and other social services, Natasha is also committed to giving back to youth in situations similar to hers. She mentors youth in YWCA’s “A Place 4 Me” program which houses homeless youth and prevents foster care youth from aging out into homelessness.