On Tuesday, September 30, Rachael’s Women’s Center saw its last day.

For 35 years, the program provided everything from street outreach to showers to safe housing to needy people in Northwest, Washington. The end came with a flurry of emotions and activity.

Inside the old brownstone house at 1222th 11th St NW St on the final morning, some clients and staffmembers rushed around, while others simply sat, seemingly overwhelmed.

A group of women who called the program home stayed busy sorting out a last influx of clothing donations while discussing where they were headed next.
Most said they were getting beds in other shelters. As one client put it sadly, “I’m going to another shelter, but it won’t be as good.”

Around noon, Rachael’s held a “going away” party- although in this case, nobody actually wanted to “go away.” Regardless, the women made the most of their last day before they were forced to head off to separate shelters, some wondering if they would ever see each other again.

Over the years, Rachael’s served over 75,700 women in a variety of ways, while simultaneously providing street outreach services to over 22,700 men. In fact, a number of Street Sense vendors have also been clients of Rachael’s. The program served 1,057,879 meals, provided 162,750 showers, and washed 271,250 loads of laundry, in addition to distributing millions of articles of clothing, providing thousands of women with case management and counseling, providing thousands of women with referrals to social services and inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment, and connecting thousands of women with benefits such as social security and disability income.

Rachael’s was unable to raise the necessary funding in order to keep its doors open. Of the $135,000 goal, the Center’s account on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe raised a meek $215 since opening on August 14, 2014. The money was to be used for debt and services.