Empower Yolo is proud of the 45 years it has provided services to survivors and families in need in Yolo County. Over the past two years, Empower Yolo stayed open every day and remained prominent in the community, steadfast and unwavering as the need for services greatly increased.

“Empower Yolo started as a sexual assault hotline in 1977, and has become a multi-service agency helping survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking, as well as the unhoused and hungry,” says Cathy Farman, Empower Yolo board member. “As a board member I am proud that Empower Yolo has kept pace with the changing needs of Yolo County residents for 45 years,” says Farman.

In 2021, Empower Yolo reported that 221 domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking survivors (of which 133 were children) received shelter or transitional housing for 17,509 bed nights. In addition, 548 clients were provided rental assistance and housing support.

Empower Yolo continues its “Welcome Home” anniversary campaign this month by encouraging the community to help us support survivors and families in need by making our safe house feel like a safe home, and investing in our housing department that supports survivors of abuse and unhoused clients.

Empower Yolo’s shelter continues to be a safe haven for victims of abuse and their children. Over the past two years, our shelter has remained open for clients seeking safety for themselves and their children even during the challenges of the ongoing pandemic. Shelter staff have worked tirelessly to support their clients; they have cared for them, taken care of their children, provided food, clothing and emergency relief, tutored the kids during distance learning, advocated for their needs, empowered them, helped them find and secure permanent housing to start new lives, and so much more.

We also ask our supporters to invest in expanding our housing programs, which assist clients (survivors of abuse and homeless) in finding and maintaining permanent housing.

Due to the aftermath of the ongoing pandemic and the shortage of affordable housing many families are experiencing housing insecurity and/or homelessness. Investing in Empower Yolo’s housing department helps with the increase in need for housing services throughout the county.

The community can help support increased services and celebrate Empower Yolo’s 45th anniversary by supporting us on Thursday, May 5 for Big Day of Giving, a 24-hour online campaign to help Empower Yolo and hundreds of other non-profits in the region.

Our goal is to raise $45,000, and to move 45 victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking into permanent housing during our 45th year.

Our housing department has already housed 32 survivors, more than half of our goal. Please support our shelter and housing programs now through May 5 and help us reach our goal. We have $15,000 in matching funds! Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, Susan Starkweather Stone, and Susan Gefter all donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $15,000. For more information and to support Empower Yolo any time now through May 5 at 11:59 p.m. visit: bigdayofgiving.org/empoweryolo.

The April “Shower for the Shelter” was a successful “Rooms-To-Go” drive organized by Empower Yolo’s board of directors so that every one of those 45 households receives the necessary items to complete a bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen. Currently, 20 “Rooms-to-Go” have been donated. Supporters are welcome to donate “Rooms-to-Go” for clients any time to help us reach our goal of 45, and to support the ongoing need. We have also been providing housing clients with “food boxes” to stock their empty pantries and help with those first few meals when they move into their new homes.

Empower Yolo celebrates 45 years in person: we are thrilled to be opening our doors at the Dowling Center, Empower Yolo’s home for everyone to celebrate our 45th anniversary. Event details: join us for “Empower Yolo’s 45th Anniversary Open House” – a celebration of providing services to survivors and families in need for 45 years in Yolo County; 175 Walnut Street, Woodland; June 3, 4:00-7:00 p.m.; enjoy food, drinks, music, information tables on our programs and so much more. We invite the community and former board members to attend this milestone anniversary celebration. This special event is free ($45 suggested donation); parking is available on the street or in the adjacent parking lot. Donors who donate $45 or more may write a personal message of encouragement to a survivor moving into permanent housing. The note will be presented to the client on a key chain. Any donor who gives $450 or more can pull the rope to ring the old school bell!

Empower Yolo’s board, staff and volunteers are looking forward to celebrating this momentous occasion with the community. “I am especially proud of the staff of Empower Yolo who never compromised on the mission of Empower Yolo during the pandemic–they deserve to be celebrated for how they have steadfastly served Empower Yolo’s clients,” says Farman.

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