YWCA discusses future of its residents

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) –The YWCA of Northwest Louisiana no longer exists. After more than 3 hours of discussion, its board voted Monday night to dissolve the nonprofit.

YWCA residents screamed outside the building after the Board of Directors announced they would have to shut down because of financial problems.  Interim Executive Director Judi Bishop says the residents aren't the only ones upset. It's a tough decision for the board and staff as well.

"It's been a devastating, very difficult, very hard day," said Bishop.

The nonprofit has a long history in Shreveport. It has provided services to the area for 86 years and domestic violence services for the past 30.

"It's been a major part of the culture of Shreveport and Bossier City for a long, long time, so I think the loss will be felt," said Bishop.

Currently, 26 residents stay at the YWCA. They plan to move them to either transitional housing, YWCA programs in other areas, or Providence House. Providence House has a safe house that can serve 20 families and 15 single women.

"We are the largest residential safe house in the state of Louisiana, so we can easily take any families the Y needs to place," said Providence House Executive Director Simone Hennesse.

While this is the end of the YWCA as it is now, Bishop hopes it won't be gone forever.

"I am hopeful that after the organization has dissolved and all of the assets have been liquidated, that there will be a group of strong, dynamic, wonderful, women in this community that come together and say we need a YWCA and may come back and create a new YWCA," said Bishop.

Bishop says she has talked to a few women about possibly reforming the YWCA in the future, but she thinks it would probably take at least 5 years.

If you need to contact someone about domestic violence issues, you can call Providence house at 221-7887.

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