30 years of service to at-risk families
California's Northern Alameda County is home to the country’s highest concentration of chronically homeless individuals, nearly all of whom struggle with addictions, physical disabilities, domestic violence, or severe and persistent mental illness.
The Women's Daytime Drop-In Center provide a safe space, warm meals, counseling, and support to identify housing to any homeless woman and her children during the day, when shelters are closed. WDDC serves an average of 150 women and children each month.
How we formed:
We are Berkeley's first daytime program for homeless women and children.
In 1987, a core group of women including Mary Rubach, Estelle Jelinek, Deveara Allen, Kim Rosa, Louise Gourdine and Judy Holland, committed themselves to offering services to homeless women and children who had no place to go during the day. This group started a temporary program at a local school during holiday break. School Board member Elizabeth Shaunessy provided access to a school classroom. Volunteers offered coffee, snacks and a warm, safe place for homeless women and children.
When school resumed, the group searched for a permanent location. Through Mary Rubach, they identified the current location on 2218 Acton Street, and recruited volunteers to staff the Center.
The WDDC developed from a volunteer-led organization to include paid staff. But even now, many of WDDC's daily activities, including cooking two warm meals a day for families, are performed by volunteers.
A special honor to Linda Lazzareschi, our fabulous Executive Director, from 1990 to 2014. Without her leadership, we would not be here today to provide services to homeless women and children in Berkeley.