Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, joined Sue Marsh, executive director of Rosie’s Place, today to highlight the success of a series of recently launched partnerships between the two organizations.

In an event held at the Woods-Mullen Shelter, an emergency homeless shelter near Boston Medical Center that is owned and operated by the Boston Public Health Commission, staff from the Commission and board members from Rosie’s Place saw newly renovated bathroom facilities for the shelter’s female guests. The renovations were made possible by a generous donation from Rosie’s Place, the local nonprofit that has helped to provide a safe and nurturing environment for poor and homeless women in Boston since 1974.

Beth Grand, co-director of Homeless Services at the Boston Public Health Commission, led this morning’s tour and talked about the impact of the new collaboration.

“A nice bathroom is an easy thing to take for granted when you have stable housing, but it makes all the difference in the world when you don’t,” said Grand. “The women here are thrilled with the new facilities, but we’re even more grateful that our partnership with Rosie’s Place extends far beyond this renovation process.”

Since the spring, Rosie’s Place and Woods-Mullen have been working together to provide the emergency shelter’s female guests with new tools to help them find work and housing. Woods-Mullen has 66 beds for women. A caseworker from Rosie’s Place spends time each week at the shelter conducting vocational counseling and job placement services, which approximately 50 women have taken advantage of thus far. A full-time housing advocate funded by Rosie’s Place has also been working intensely with women at Woods-Mullen to support them in their search for more permanent housing.

Sue Marsh, executive director at Rosie’s Place, appreciates the value the collaboration brings to the community. “At Rosie’s Place, we have always been aware that our responsibility to poor and homeless women extends beyond the walls of our own building,” said Marsh. “We are grateful that by partnering with Woods-Mullen, we have the opportunity to offer our friendship and support to their guests. Together, we can create a community that shows the world how justice looks.”

“We’re thankful that Sue and her team at Rosie’s Place have such a great appreciation and commitment for collaboration,” said Dr. Ferrer. “Both of our organizations serve vulnerable women in Boston, and we’re able to increase the impact of our efforts by working together. It’s really special to see the difference this partnership is making for the women at Woods-Mullen.”

Rosie’s Place has also begun leading a monthly arts group for women at Woods-Mullen, and volunteers from the organization’s Friendly Visitor Program hold weekly games and activities for women there. While these programs offer an escape for the women from their daily routines, Woods-Mullen and Rosie’s Place staff view them as way to form relationships and begin outreach to a population that can be hard to engage with services. By creating a bond between shelter guests and staff, the two organizations hope that the women will be more willing to seek career counseling and housing support services.

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