NMTC Case Study for Women’s Center and Shelter
Since 1974, Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh (WC&S) has served victims of domestic violence and helped women regain their independence and confidence. One of the first shelters for domestic violence victims in the country, WC&S has long been at the forefront of the movement against this egregious crime. In 2016 alone, WC&S served 496 residents, providing 13,846 safe bed nights for women and children fleeing abusive relationships. It also provided more than 28,800 hours of resident counseling, non-resident counseling, legal aid referrals and support and other services to a total of 6,508 women and children. Based on WC&S data, the per capita income of women served during FY 2014/15 was $4,093 and household income was $7,607.
Sadly, the need for WC&S’s services far outweighs its 38,000 square foot capacity. In 2016, 500 women and children were turned away from the shelter due to overcrowding. There has also been a dramatic rise in the number of children needing to be served, and the accessibility of information on the Internet has made “hiding in plain sight” impossible, requiring a complete overhaul to the way the facility is accessed and monitored for safety.
The renovation of the shelter will: (i) add and enhance children’s areas; (ii) increase bed counts by 33%, from 36 to 48; (iii) create better, more efficient office, clinical and administrative space; (iv) overhaul the security and safety measures at all access points and provide safe sanctuary space within the facility; (v) update all of the mechanical and roof systems, which have reached the end of their useful life; and (vi) vastly improve energy efficiency with a LEED-certified design. This project supported 25 full-time construction jobs at an average wage of $42.50 an hour. Upon completion, the shelter expects to hire and retain a total of 51 permanent employees at a wage of $16.82 per hour to support operations. Economic estimates predict the project will create 23 indirect and induced jobs providing $1,129,000 in added wages for the region.
With total project costs of $13.2 million, WC&S combined financing from a number of community partners, including a NMTC Allocation from Commonwealth Cornerstone Group ($5 million) and Allocation from Pittsburgh Urban Initiatives ($7.5 million), to fully fund the project. In addition to the Allocation and charitable contributions, permanent debt was provided by Huntington Bank.