frequently asked questions

What does ‘YWCA’ stand for?
YWCA used to stand for Young Women’s Christian Association. It is now the letters of our name rather than an abbreviation of any longer name.  We provide services to anyone who is a survivor of domestic violence, regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, or religious affiliation.

What is the association between the YMCA and YWCA?
There is no association.

Why do YWCA materials include the phrase “eliminating racism”?
The national YWCA mission includes eliminating racism and each YWCA does that differently based on location. Here, we work to create a community of social justice, which means we work for inclusion and equality for all people, regardless of race. We do that within our organization by educating staff, implementing inclusive policies and practices, and practicing nondiscrimination in our services. We do this in the community by promoting and supporting inclusion, equality and social justice, and by partnering with other organizations who share those values and activities.

Does YWCA take sample or travel sized toiletries?
No. Our shelter houses families for up to 90 days, so full-sized hygiene products are needed. Sample-sized items create a lot of waste, and don’t adequately meet the needs of our clients. 

How is YWCA funded?
Many kinds of funding support the services at YWCA. Nearly half of our yearly operating budget is paid for through government grants.  We also receive funding from community foundations, corporate sponsorships, and individual donors. We hold special events to raise money, have an annual giving campaign, and hold special giving campaigns for various projects.

How many people does the shelter house?
Our shelter is housed in a converted apartment building with 25 units. We do not “double up” families in the units, so while the maximum capacity of the shelter is 75 adults and children, the amount of people living in the shelter at any given time varies depending on the size of the families in each unit.

How long can you stay in the emergency shelter?
The shelter provides safety, privacy and basic needs for up to 90 days. During this time, a Case Manager and team of Advocates help the person determine their next steps.

How can someone get in to the shelter?
If someone is fleeing an immediately dangerous situation because of being abused by their partner, they would call our 24 hour DV Hotline at (253) 383-2593 and speak with an Advocate. The Advocate does an initial screening with them over the phone to determine their eligibility based on a number of factors. If the caller is eligible for the program, and there is space, the Advocate will make arrangements for them to come to the shelter.

What if there is no room in the shelter?
If there are not any open units, Advocates work with the person to find alternatives. This includes safety planning, and providing referrals to other resources. We do have to turn away an average of 150 requests for shelter per month, but do our best to provide each caller with planning, support, and referrals that are appropriate to their individual situation.

How do I know what to do if someone tells me they are being abused?
The most important thing you can do if someone trusts you enough to share with you that they are experiencing abuse is to believe them. Victims are often not believed by their friends, family and other people that they count on for support.  You don’t have to be an expert on domestic violence to show someone you care, and to be patient, attentive, and kind.  Providing a safe space for the person to call our Hotline and talk to a trained Advocate is one way to help. It can be very scary or intimidating for a victim to reach out for help, so one way to help is to provide reassurance and to focus on their safety as the top priority. Letting them know that they do not deserve to be abused, that the abuse is not their fault, and that there are trained staff at the YWCA available to help them when they are ready are all important and appropriate responses. It is not safe to tell someone what they should do, break their confidence, or try to force them into a course of action they are not ready for.

Does YWCA offer any services to men?
Yes, every one of our programs and services is open to any adult regardless of gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, race, socioeconomic class, immigration status, disability or any other protected status. We value inclusivity and know that intimate partner violence impacts marginalized communities in unique ways.

We are committed to training our staff to provide relevant services, information and resources based on an individual’s specific needs.

My friend/colleague is experiencing domestic violence and I don’t know how to talk to him/her about it. Can I get help?
You can call our 24 hour hotline and talk to a trained Advocate. They can help you talk through the situation, offer information and resources, and help you process your experiences.

Does YWCA help with all kinds of relationship or family abuse?
YWCA programs and services are specifically designed for people experiencing violence or other forms of abuse by their intimate partner. However, you can call our 24 hotline to get connected to other appropriate resources.

Is everything that happens at YWCA confidential?
Confidentiality is a critical part of our services, and paramount to the safety of our clients. However, YWCA staff are legally required to report child abuse or vulnerable adult abuse to the appropriate authorities.