LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new nonprofit organization is getting hundreds of women and children off the street. It's now relying on the community for a city-wide competition to win thousands of dollars and further their mission.
Signs lead to the basement of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Louisville, giving women an inconspicuous and safe place.
"They'll maybe be harassed by the men. They don't necessarily feel safe even if they're in an emergency shelter, they're walking on the streets because they walk everywhere," says Andrea Scott, Co-Founder and Director of UP for Women and Children.
UP for Women and Children is Louisville's first and only women and children's day shelter.
"It's not uncommon by the time we open our doors at 9 o'clock to have anywhere from 15 and 20 women in the doors," Scott said.
Scott and Amy Meredith opened the drop-in nonprofit last year. "Really we just want to try and get them connected to as many services as possible," Scott said.
That includes hygiene products, laundry, a shower, nurse practitioner, a place to pick up mail, phone access and a case manager.
"When you're in crisis and you're trying to navigate through that, it can be really difficult, and so it's helpful to have an advocate and someone who can help point you in the right direction," Scott said.
The organization thought it would serve maybe 200 women in their first year, but has actually served 496. "We helped end homelessness for 139 women and children in our first year," Scott said.
Priscilla Dobbins visited UP after getting out of an abusive relationship, and says they helped her through a tough time, giving her "bus fare, ID -- anything to get me back on my feet, clothes socks underclothes, and all that. It means a lot when you have absolutely nothing at all."
Now, five months later, her life is back on track.
"I've already done my briefing," Dobbins said. "I've already found my apartment. Now, I'm just waiting on my inspection, and it's awesome. God is good, and I love coming to this place."
Aetna just nominated UP and three other local nonprofits for its Voices of Health Competition.
The winner takes home $20,000. The nonprofit that gets second place is awarded $10,000.
Scott said if UP wins, the money will be used to create a larger space and pay for operating costs and in turn, helping more women. "It really is humbling and heartwarming to know the services that we're providing, and they feel really welcomed here, and they feel safe here, and they really appreciate and value what we're doing here," Scott said.
UP for Women and Children is competing against Home of the Innocents, Coalition for the Homeless and the Food Literacy Project.
You can vote for your nonprofit four times per day using email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Voting ends October 13. Click here to vote.
To volunteer or donate to UP for Women and Children, click here.
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