YWCA of Greater Flint & Huntington: Helping domestic abuse survivors
The YWCA of Greater Flint goes beyond fitness to provide domestic assault services
“There's a phrase: If you’ve seen one YWCA, you’ve seen one YWCA,” says Heidi McAra, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Flint.
She says that each community’s YWCA is very different from the others, and each is custom tailored to the constituents it serves.
And while nationwide, the YWCA is one of the oldest and largest multicultural women’s organization in the world, locally, the YWCA of Greater Flint is known as a refuge for victims of domestic violence. “Our association has been in Flint for more than 100 years,” says McAra. “We started as a place for health and fitness, child care and affordable housing for women coming into community to work in auto plants.” But as time marched on and the needs of the community evolved, the Flint YWCA has also evolved to meet the needs of the people it serves. Today, it is the exclusive provider of domestic assault services in the community. “As community needs changed, we did, too,” McAra says. “We really found our niche in empowering survivors, particularly in communities of color.”
She says the organization is best known for Safehouse, the only emergency shelter for men, women, and children in the county. “Every year, we help 500 people with shelter services, and 2,500 to 3,000 nonresidential clients with legal and life services,” McAra says. “They provide basic needs and safety, and also make sure victims have access to legal, substance abuse and mental health assistance.”
Huntington has been a dedicated partner to the organization, donating funds and helping to raise awareness.
“They have gone above and beyond in their commitment,” McAra says. And that dedication goes beyond just giving money.
“They're supportive in looking to empower women on a financial basis with financial literacy training, open discussions and great feedback about how to get survivors to the next step.”
About the organization
Name:YWCA of Greater Flint
Mission YWCA of Greater Flint is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
How you can help
Assistance for the YWCA goes beyond donating funds to the organization. McAra suggests supporting nontraditional grant-funded programs that help with domestic violence prevention and awareness. Click “Get Involved” on the website to learn more.