YWCA Monterey County is Committed to Making a Difference.

The YWCA Monterey County has roots in the area going back over 100 years and, in that time, has grown to become the only provider of wraparound services for victims of domestic violence in the county. We pride ourselves in responding to a need for our services across the county, to include small and medium towns and communities all the way down Route 101, and not just in the urban coastal areas or in Salinas where our main operations take place. Zip codes should ensure a response and not determine a response. All our services are person-centered, and all our staff receive regular in-house training on what it means to offer a person- centered response. We offer the following services and to illustrate the reach and impact, we have included recent numbers to show just how crucial our services are to both victims and the communities we all live in.

A large percentage of YWCA MC clients are Hispanic women, many of whom are undocumented. While the county may seem affluent, smaller communities such as Chualar and King City have lower incomes compared to Monterey and Pacific Grove. The main industries, agriculture, and hospitality, offer lower wages and few benefits. Educational attainment is lower compared to the state average. Domestic violence victims in the county face multiple hurdles, including financial constraints, fear of homelessness, and language barriers.

DV Housing:

As a domestic violence (DV) services provider our clients are fleeing an abusive relationship and are classified homeless or unsheltered when they present to our agency. We fully understand that these victims of DV present with diverse needs and face barriers and challenges in obtaining suitable housing and our goal is to provide comprehensive and holistic services to them as they process their reality of dealing with the challenges they face as victims and survivors. Our housing program offers options to begin to address their housing situation: a confidential emergency shelter; a confidential transitional housing option that then can lead to more permanent housing opportunities as they work with our DV Housing Counselor.

Impact: In the 2022 Monterey County Homeless Count and Survey, 26% of the 2,047 homeless individuals are women or 532: of those 33% reported DV as the cause of their homelessness or 176. The YWCA MC’s 24-Hour Crisis Line received 2,675 calls requesting DV services and our administrative offices received 91 calls for housing assistance and our housing department assisted 103 individuals/families with housing needs in 2022. Secure and sustainable housing is a necessity and not a luxury.

Food Bank:

In one of the wealthiest areas in the USA, food insecurity exists. Imagine having to decide between the cost of gas to get to a below-minimum-wage job and food for dinner for yourself and three children that evening. (An actual client case.). Every two weeks we supply up to 70 families with enough culturally appropriate food for 2-3 days. We ask no questions other than to accept our clients are in need. This is why we are often seen as the ‘safe’ option. Many of the people we serve are undocumented and prefer to engage as little as possible with officialdom.

Impact: At least minimally, children do not go to bed hungry and so are better able to engage with school and feel less marginalized than their peers.

Therapy and Counseling:

YWCA MC offers specialized therapy for children and youth exposed to trauma such as DV, or other violent crimes. Our clinicians use age-appropriate techniques such as play and sand therapy, as well as evidence-based methods like Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. We work with children, youth, and parents to create tailored plans, addressing trauma triggers, and mental health symptoms. Our focus is on boosting self-esteem, reducing anxiety, and teaching healthy coping skills. In addition, we provide individual, and family counseling in both English and Spanish. Sessions can be in-person at our offices in Salinas and King City, or via Telehealth. Services are often free or on a sliding scale based on income. We also offer therapy for crime victims eligible for CalVCB benefits. We offer psychoeducational groups for domestic violence victims and offenders, covering topics such as power dynamics and safety planning. Our licensed therapists can conduct psychological assessments for immigration relief programs as well.

Impact: through our therapy programs we assisted 44 children, 182 adults and provided 1,352 therapeutic sessions in 2022. These services helped those who in most cases would not be able to afford mental health treatment.

Outreach and Prevention:

Community groups, including the County, look to us for education to both prevent domestic violence and educate other service providers. Through our role as a leader of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, we were able to embark on a yearlong project to gather together all those who work to support DV victims, even often on a minimal level, to compile a Service Manual with descriptors and contacts for over 45 groups.

Impact: Recognition for all those who deliver crucial work and a one-stop reference for providers. Our team delivered 46 sessions of Safe Dates and Dating Matters to Middle and High school students in area schools. Both curriculums address DV and provide youth with tools to identify and prevent abuse.

Introducing best practice:

In intimate partner violence/DV to both statutory and non-profit providers, the lens shifts as we all grow to accept and investigate the need for a more evidence-based approach to responding to the needs of victims. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month ’23, we hosted an internationally recognized academic, Dr. Emma Katz, who delivered a presentation on the Impact of DV on Children, something that is often relegated to simply ‘they [children] didn’t see anything so they are ok’. Not so; they are co-victims and by challenging perceived wisdom, more children will receive services in their own right, to keep them safe and help them on their recovery journey.

Impact: The fewer Adverse Childhood Experiences a child has, the less likely they are to suffer from mental health problems or drug and alcohol abuse in adulthood. We had over 200 registrants from as far away as Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico, Holland, England, Canada and the USA!

At YWCA Monterey County, our mission is grounded in compassion and humanity. We believe that everyone deserves a chance to heal and recover. With your help, we can make that a reality for survivors of abuse in our community. Your support can help us meet a critical need and continue to provide life-changing services to those who need them most.

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Our YWCA Monterey County Youth Outreach & Education (YEA) team is dedicated to dating violence prevention. Check out this video for red flags & resources. For more information on our team click here.

Community Foundation of Monterey recognized our need to help women through the Covid-19 crisis and gave the YWCA Monterey County a generous grant!

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