In the coming year, the YWCA will be renovating the Residence at the YWCA Haverhill location on Winter Street to provide single-room occupancy apartments with shared kitchen, common area and baths for low-income women in need of safe, affordable housing. The Residence has been closed since early 2012 and is in need of substantial repairs. This is in keeping with our commitment to serving Greater Haverhill’s most vulnerable citizens.
Donated to the YWCA Haverhill at the turn of the century by Haverhill philanthropist Dr. Ira Chase, the Winter Street building represents all that is best about Haverhill’s community values, in which care for those in need is paramount. Dr. Chase was concerned about the health and safety of young women working the factories and shops in Haverhill, and his generous donation to the YWCA reflected his commitment to providing a safe home and support for those young women. YWCA Board minutes from the first part of the 20th Century clearly demonstrate many cases when a young woman came to the YWCA destitute and in need of food and shelter, and, because of Dr. Chase’s great gift – and the social commitment of the women who were leaders and volunteers at the YWCA in those early years – the needs of those young women were met.
More than 100 years later, the need for housing for low-income women in Greater Haverhill remains great. By renovating and reopening the Residence, we honor the tradition and intent of Dr. Chase’s gift to the YWCA.