YWCA Tours Jefferson County State Senators

January 25, 2013

The YWCA was pleased to have several members of the Jefferson County Senate Delegation at our Downtown and Woodlawn locations. The senators began by taking a walk through our NAEYC accredited child care center before heading to view firsthand the revitalization work that is being done in Woodlawn which includes four apartment complexes with 58 units of affordable housing, a KaBOOM! playground, Interfaith Hospitality House, a shelter for intact, homeless families, a community garden and a Family Resource Center.

"I was so pleased to work with the YWCA to organize this tour and look forward to other events in the near future with some of my other legislative colleagues who were unable to join us for this first visit," said Senator Slade Blackwell. "The YWCA is an impressive organization that is really making a difference in the community." 

While for years we've operated transitional and permanent housing for women in downtown Birmingham along with elderly housing and housing for those with special needs in nearby communities, the YWCA prepared the YWoodlawn Plan, a collaborative empowerment effort intended to reduce poverty and homelessness within an underserved area of Birmingham by reinvesting in the neighborhood; providing innovative housing for families experiencing homelessness; introducing affordable transitional housing for families; bringing health, education and employment-based services to the community's doorstep and reintroducing homeownership opportunities in a stable, growing community.

"Our housing team was particularly honored to have a delegation of Senators from the Alabama Legislature come and tour the YWoodlawn Campus," said Jennifer Clarke, Chief Housing Officer. "While it would have been easy to take a pass on yet another site visit amidst their busy schedules, these four senators took the time out of their personal calendars not only to see what the YWCA has been doing to revitalize a neighborhood, but they also sat and engaged with us in important state policy matters that have a tremendous bearing on the lives of those we serve."

Too often, the YWCA sees the heart-wrenching impact of predatory lenders on the families we serve. In many Birmingham neighborhoods, too many people get caught in the devastating cycle of borrowing more and more to pay back their original loan. Because the YWCA believes that our laws need to protect families from usury we have partnered with Alabama Arise and Alabama Appleseed to advocate for legislative change that will protect the families we serve.

There will also be two Priority Bills introduced to the Alabama Legislature this year by the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV). They are the General Fund Appropriation Bill and the Divorce Fee Bill. The Alabama Legislature first appropriated funds to the ACADV in 1978. In fiscal year 2010-2011 the legislature appropriated $435,600 to ACADV. In fiscal year 2011-2012 this appropriation was reduced to $259,182. In fiscal year 2012-2013 this appropriation was again reduced to $196,978. 

Thank you so much to Senators Priscilla Dunn, Rodger Smitherman, Scott Beason and Slade Blackwell for taking time to tour our facilities. "To spend time with folks of this caliber, who cared enough to sit and listen to us, to ask poignant questions and share in their willingness to evangelize the policy priorities that will make a real change in the lives of those whom we serve - that is not just a good day for the YWCA, that is a great moment for us all," said Clarke.

To learn more about the YWCA Central Alabama or to donate, please click here.