3425 N. Main St. Columbia, SC     |     803-779-4706
3425 N. Main St. Columbia, SC
803-779-4706

About the Women's Shelter

The Women’s Shelter has been an integral part of the Columbia Community for over 30 years. As a part of the Providence Home Organization from 1976 until 1991 we served homeless men, women and children in the community. In the early 1980’s the greater Columbia community began to address the specialized needs of the homeless by creating family shelters, domestic violence shelters, children’s shelters and community based housing for persons living with mental illness. Thus, in 1991 The Women’s Shelter formed a separate, private nonprofit organization from the Providence Home, in order to carry out a comprehensive ministry specific to homeless women.

Over the years attention to the changing needs of homeless women has required The Women’s Shelter to adapt its programs. We have always strived to offer more than a bed and something to eat as a means to provide lasting change in the lives of our residents.

In order to provide residents with the tools and skills they need to become healthy, safe and self-sufficient we offer a variety of educational and support programs. Volunteers, generous with their time and talents, have offered a variety of programs ranging from relapse prevention courses, budgeting classes and women’s health education classes to nutritional education. These on-site programs are offered several nights a week along with transportation to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings to provide seven nights of programming.

When it became apparent that the women needed a more gradual “re-entry” into being totally self sufficient, transitional housing was introduced into The Women’s Shelter program. We currently own 17 fully furnished housing units, which offers long-term housing (up to two years) to residents who have successfully completed the 12-week primary housing program. We have also assisted former residents with home ownership opportunities and several women have replaced rent payments with mortgage payments.

In the late 1980’s we converted a three-bay garage into a facility to accommodate a dental clinic and built an addition for programming space. In 2001 the dental clinic expanded to provide comprehensive care to residents of the shelter and other specialized populations. The programming space offers a large meeting area, a private counseling room and a resource center.

Although our primary focus is women, we remain active advocates for all efforts to bring about positive social change. We realize that homelessness is just one symptom of a faulty system.

 

Meet Our Staff

The Women’s Shelter employs four full-time and three part-time staff members.

  • Kathy Riley – Executive Director
  • Angie Whitehead - Program Director
  • Paul Guinn- Grants Administrator
  • Joanne Gardner – Night Manager
  • Gail Gieseking - Administrative Assistant

 

Our Board of Directors

  • Bettye B Armstrong
  • Frances Close
  • Lee Coggiola
  • Bob Guild
  • Alfreda Herbert
  • Bernadette Herbert
  • Kathy Semon
  • Ann Vickery