The Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) is the only organization in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving women and gender diverse individuals experiencing homelessness.

Founded in 1978, DWC was the first:

Permanent supportive housing provider for women in the U.S.

Critical Time Intervention provider in the Western U.S.

Health clinic exclusively serving women in the Skid Row community (and we remain the only one today).

Drop-in Day Center exclusively serving homeless women in the city of Los Angeles (and we remain the only one today).

Our Mission

We end homelessness for women and gender diverse individuals by providing safe housing and supportive services centered on wellness, employment, and advocacy.

Our Story

DWC is built on a friendship that grew between an outreach worker named Jill Halverson and Rosa, a woman experiencing homelessness at the time. This friendship inspired Jill to open DWC and establish a community through which the lives of women like Rosa could be restored.

In the 40 years since Jill’s extraordinary act of compassion, we’ve reached thousands of women and transformed countless lives. Today, DWC manages 119 units of permanent housing across greater Los Angeles, and has grown to serve more than 5,700 women annually. We provide a wide array of resources to decrease barriers and end homelessness for good for all women, including female veterans and their families, women with severe physical and mental health concerns, and survivors of domestic violence. 

Our Housing First and trauma-informed service model includes:

  • Access to basic needs and resources through our Day Center, where women can receive three daily meals and access to showers, restrooms, mail, laundry, and telephones.
  • On-site housing and supportive services, with our 119 units of permanent housing across two residences making us one of the largest housing providers for women in the country.
  • Community-based housing services, provided in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, and various private foundations and corporations.
  • Health and wellness services, including individual and group counseling, medical care, mental health services, preventive screenings, Trauma Recovery Center services, and enrichment activities.
  • Job readiness and employment training, as well as job placement services and transitional jobs at MADE by DWC, in partnership with LA:RISE.
  • Advocacy training, to empower women to become successful advocates for themselves and others by participating in press interviews, public policy meetings, lobby visits with legislators, fundraising events, press conferences, and more.
  • Public education and volunteering, with a volunteer program that engages over 5,000 individuals annually.
  • Research and evaluation, to continue to push the envelope on creative solutions to ending homelessness by providing real-time data on needs and impacts (see the DWC 2019 Los Angeles City Women’s Needs Assessment here).

Homelessness is not inevitable – it is a societal problem that bears especially hard on women.

We need committed communities and people like you to help us change systems and lives.
Become an agent of change today.