Taking a Moment to Spotlight the Downtown Women’s Center 

January 30, 2024

Community Spotlight

Today’s post may come as a surprise. It’s understandable that you might not expect to read about the latest data on homelessness in Los Angeles here on our blog. Or the charitable organization on a mission to change those stats for the better. We are, after all, a hospitality and catering company. We’re in the business of celebration, right?!

But we know that you, just like us, are interested in the people and places that make up this vibrant and dynamic city—and the organizations trailblazing new paths for enriching the lives of those within it. So I’d like to take a pause from our regularly scheduled food, beverage, and hospitality programming to share about an organization near and dear to our hearts at Schaffer: the Downtown Women’s Center of Los Angeles

While the traditional holiday “giving season” has wrapped as we make our way into the new year, the hardworking teams at organizations like DWC continue to need our support and attention. It’s with intentionality that we choose this time of year to talk about their efforts. 

I began volunteering with DWC in 2018 and served as Event Chair on their Leadership Council Board in 2019. The DWC is one of the largest beneficiaries of our charitable giving here at Schaffer. We donate to the organization on a monthly and annual basis and donate goods and services to their fundraising events—the most recent being the December “Light Her Way” fundraiser, which raised over $53,000 (100% of which were donated to DWC). There are many ways in which you, too, can get involved. 

But first, I’ll share more about the incredible work happening at DWC. 

Over 22,320 women are currently experiencing homelessness here in Los Angeles County—a 6% increase from 2022—according to the latest count conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. The enormity of this can feel overwhelming; which is why the incredible work happening every day at DWC has never been more urgent. 

The Downtown Women’s Center’s mission is to “end homelessness for women in greater Los Angeles through housing, wellness, employment, and advocacy.” In 2022, DWC served over 108,000 meals, provided over 34,000 case management support sessions and over 2,000 mental health sessions, and closed the year with a 99% permanent housing retention rate. They’ve been named a California Non-Profit of the Year, are awarded Four Stars on Charity Navigator, and recently received the highest nod—the 2023 Platinum Transparency Award—from Candid, a non-profit analytics organization that provides comprehensive data and insights about the social sector. 

In short: they are doing the work, with impact. 

For many of the services DWC offers, they are the only provider of this resource. DWC operates a health clinic exclusively serving women in the Skid Row community (currently the only one today), runs a Drop-In Day Center exclusively serving homeless women in LA (the only one today), and manages 119 units of permanent housing across greater LA (serving nearly 6,000 women annually). 

And their Housing First, trauma-informed services don’t stop there. They provide women access to basic needs and resources through their Day Center (three daily meals, showers, restrooms, mail, laundry, and more), health and wellness services (including group and individual counseling, medical care, preventive screenings, trauma recovery services, and enrichment activities), job readiness and employment training, advocacy training, public education and volunteering, and research and evaluation (endeavoring to find and deliver creative solutions to ending homelessness by providing real-time data on needs and impact). 

Schaffer is a Certified Women-Owned Small Business. We know firsthand what women can achieve when supported with the resources they need to thrive. We are grateful to be in a position to serve through the donation of our time, money, and resources. If you are inspired to learn more about the DWC or support in your own way, please visit www.downtownwomenscenter.org. There you will find opportunities for cash donation, goods donation, volunteering, and more. 

Looking for a meaningful Galentine’s Day gift? Visit their Made by DWC shop, which provides women with opportunities to gain experience in production, inventory, retail, and customer service industries. 

- Kathleen Schaffer