The YWCA broke ground on its new $4.9 million housing and improvement project on Tuesday.
The project includes 14 new apartments, common areas and laundry space. Upgrades are also being made to existing housing units such as roof and masonry repairs and park and playground improvements.
Jean Carroll is the president and CEO of the YWCA of Rochester. She says the "Y" has seen a 61-percent increase in the number of women and children seeking shelter.
"There are thousands of families that have a need for permanent affordable housing, and the resources are just not out there for it. So the fact that we are able to add 14 units to our already existing 96 unit building is fantastic.”
Carroll says the increase in services is partly due to the lack of affordable housing, a sluggish economy and the closure of some hotels that used to take in the homeless.
Dellenna Harper says she arrived on the door step of the YWCA in 2006.
While homeless and addicted to drugs, she calls the program a "brick in her foundation" and recovery. Harper says after spending 3 months in the Monroe County Correctional Facility, the "Y" helped her become a woman of integrity.
"You really can't be successful and productive in this community if you don't have a safe place to live. And that's what the YWCA provided to me, in addition to helping with my addiction problem. They connected me with facilities and agencies in the community to help me get my life back on track."
Harper is now the director of the facility she once lived in - helping other women help themselves.
The YWCA provides housing for women in Rochester, recovering from drugs, homeless or fleeing from domestic violence.
The project is in partnership with Conifer Realty.
The new apartments and renovations are slated for completion by late spring.