“I do think we need to rethink, especially since we’re in COVID, how do we ready ourselves and better ourselves to bring services for where people are and where they stand,” said Shannon Isom, YWCA president and CEO. “How do we meet people from where they stand?”
The YWCA suggested the space could be used to partner with small business owners who don’t have their own spaces, with a focus on businesses owned by women and minorities.
The Huber Heights campus will open in phases, with initial use focused on administrative functions, youth programming and community rentals, including long-term small business leases. Staff members are already working in that office and programs will be available at that campus later this year, said Audrey Starr, a spokeswoman for the YWCA.
The green space at the back of the property could be used for community events and rentals, Starr said.
The YWCA already was doing some work within Huber Heights, but Isom said this space gives it a physical presence in the city.
The organization does not plan to move out of its current offices in downtown Dayton, Starr said.
The YWCA also operates the only domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers in Montgomery and Preble counties, as well as provides affordable housing and support services for women and families who are victims of abuse or experiencing homelessness. The organization also runs Girls LEAD!, a curriculum of educational and prevention outreach programming, and AMEND Together, an in-school education program for men and boys to prevent violence against women.
A huge need exists for housing for such families, Starr said, so this added space could help with that need.
The YWCA said it’s excited to see what’s next for the organization.
“The field is wide open,” Starr said. “But the possibilities and the opportunities to expand our mission, to really have it have more of a physical footprint all the way across the county, is really, really exciting.”