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The mission of Emmaus Women's Shelter is to provide refuge, restoration, and reintegration to homeless women and their children.


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Little Things Mean a Lot

I was just four or five years old when big band singer Kitty Kallen told us "Give me your arm when we cross the street/ Call me at six on the dot/ A line a day when you're far away/ Little things mean a lot." She was right. Little things DO mean a lot at Emmaus Women's Shelter where we help make the difference between a dignified life and a disaster. From the time we opened in 2009, simple things, gentle touches and supports have made life better for 362 poor and homeless women.

Many of these "little things" are offered at our day center, located on Greenville Street. This is the hub of information, connections and resources for guests, staff, volunteers, and visitors alike. Women stop by to use the laundry facilities, shower facilities, check mail, use a computer, sign up for a workshop and more. Here a woman can obtain the small necessities that most of us purchase without a second thought--postage for a business letter; a small bottle of hand lotion; zip-top bags to hold possessions; a sheet of paper and the use of a pen. Small services are available here too: use of a free phone, the photocopier, computer to check email, a safe place to receive mail and messages. For many women who bounce from one living situation to another, the day center may be the only constant way to get a message from a doctor, prospective landlord or employer or even family members.

Yet attention to detail doesn't stop there. We serve coffee in a real mug, like those we have in our homes. "We want our guests to feel respected. We encourage them to step out, look for employment, seek out affordable and sustainable housing," explains Anne Marshall, Director of the Day Center.

Overnight shelter is the same way. Our women sleep in P.J's and have slippers--not hospital gowns and disposable slippers. It's part of what makes them feel comfortable and safe." The evening meal is served on a dining table, where children have just completed their homework for school...just like at our homes.

Recently, we experienced a sudden uptake in the number of food boxes and pleas for help that we received. One mother came by looking for baby formula. Two cans were found, and a happy guest went on her way. Little enough to offer ... but it made a big difference to that family. Thinkers from Aesop to Martin Luther King have noted the importance of relatively small gestures in making someone feel valued, loved and appreciated. "We are committed to providing the services that matter to our guests, whether big or small," continued Marshall. "And we know that the way those services are offered matters just as much."

"Give me a hand when I've lost the way/ Give me your shoulder to cry on/ Whether the day is bright or gray / Give me your heart to rely on ... little things mean a lot."

In Jesus Name and for His sake,
Kay Elam
Executive Directory, Emmaus Women's Shelter

Make a Lasting Impact!

Women are sad and fearful when they first come to Emmaus Women’s Shelter. Family and friends sometimes bring women and children to the shelter when they can no longer care for them. Some women and children are brought to the shelter by our local law enforcement. Local doctors, nurses, and hospitals refer people to Emmaus Women’s Shelter. Other social service agencies and churches refer women and children to us. Sometimes they just come in off the streets.

It doesn't matter how they come to us; we care for them all. We provide services for homeless women and children, victims of domestic violence, victims of street violence, victims of elder abuse, female veterans, the working poor and homeless.

Our residents represent all ages, races and ethnic groups and educational levels. Last year we provided shelter and services for who had college education. No one is immune.

Our youngest resident last year was a 2 month-old baby that came to Emmaus Women’s Shelter with her mom and three siblings. Our oldest resident was the U.S. Veteran over 65 years of age.

During our first 17 months of operation we provided meals, laundry facilities, hot showers and safe shelter for a total of 9,430 nights.