The Bowery Mission has turned two Harlem brownstones into a sprawling recovery home for women in need. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
A ribbon cutting in Harlem celebrated the opening of twin brownstones on 130th Street that will serve as a launching pad for women who need a helping hand.
"To be here in Harlem and the whole changes that is taking place in Harlem, too, as well as ourselves, we're growing together," said Denise McPhoy, a Bowery Mission resident.
It took two years for The Bowery Women's Mission Center to rehabilitate the once-dilapidated buildings. Now, they are state-of-the-art residences, complete with a computer training center and a sparkling kitchen that leads to a plush garden.
"This townhouse was full of squatters when we bought it," said Edward Morgan, president of the Bowery Mission. "We had to gut renovate it."
"We serve women who are homeless due to some kind of crisis in their life, be it domestic violence, trauma, abuse, exploitation," said Cheryl Mitchell, director of Bowery Women's Centers.
The nearly $4 million rehabilitation project of two Harlem brownstones will serve nearly 30 women who are hoping to turn their lives around.
It comes as new numbers from the city show homelessness among New York City women is on the rise. On June 6, the Department of Homeless Services reported that there are 2,782 single women in shelters, as well as 15,972 families, mostly mothers with children.
"One bad choice leads to another, and they find themselves in desperate situations and walk through the door, realize that they are loved," said Veronica Kelly, director of Bowery special projects.
"There's so many women that need help in so many different areas of their lives," said Sheila Howard, a Bowery Mission resident. "They may have just had something go forward where they needed a pick up."
The women who live at the mission will also receive educational assistance and career counseling.
To learn more, visit www.bowery.org.