Abby Kelley Foster House, Inc.

aka Abby's House   |   Worcester, MA   |  www.abbyshouse.org

Mission

The mission of Abby's House is to provide shelter and affordable housing, as well as advocacy and support services, to homeless, battered, and low-income women, with and without children. Opened in 1976, Abby's House was one of the country's first homeless shelters for women. Since then, we've expanded our mission to include 79 units of housing and are Worcester's largest provider of affordable, supportive housing specifically designed to meet the needs of marginalized women and children. Since our founding, Abby's House has helped more than 14,000 women and children reclaim and rebuild their lives.

Ruling year info

1978

Executive Director

Ms Stephanie Page

Main address

52 High Street

Worcester, MA 01609 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

04-2648411

NTEE code info

Other Housing, Shelter N.E.C. (L99)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (P01)

Victims' Services (P62)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Annually, Abby's House serves hundreds of women each year, providing them with shelter, housing & advocacy. Our short-term objectives are "to answer the door, one knock at a time" by serving the women who turn to us in need, helping them address the issues that lead to their housing displacement & providing shelter, housing and/or advocacy as needed. The gap between livable wages and affordable housing is increasing at an alarming rate. To afford a 1-bedroom rental home at Fair Market Rent ($1,425/month for a 1-bedroom unit) making minimum wage ($12/hour), a woman would have to work 91 hours each week in Massachusetts just to afford her rent, never mind having money remaining for other expenses like food, clothing, medications, insurance, child care and transportation. As a result, hundreds of women need to access low-income housing programs in order to have a safe and affordable place to live, but - the wait for public housing can be as long as 8-10 years and many wait-lists.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Abby's House

Shelter: Our overnight shelter is open from 5:30 p.m. - 8 a.m., seven days per week, year-round, and is part of the state-wide shelter network. We provide a safe and secure experience for homeless and battered women and their children. This project is supported by individual contributions, corporate and foundation gifts and grants.

Housing: We operate seven two-bedroom apartments and 72 single room low-income housing units in three buildings in Worcester.

Advocacy: Each woman living with us is assigned her own Advocate, who helps her identify realistic goals and provides her with the tools she needs to achieve them. Our Advocates empower women to access the resources they need to succeed, such as higher education, job training, affordable housing and child care. The Shelter and Housing Advocates provide linkages to critical services for every guest and resident. The program's activities are as follows: Conduct a confidential intake interview with an Advocate, in which residents discuss their current situation, immediate needs, and develop an empowerment plan; Assist each woman to achieve a sense of control by realizing and exercising her own strengths and abilities as she develops and follows through with her service plan; Provide thoughtful and thorough advocacy and referrals so women may obtain permanent housing, legal services, public benefits, physical and mental health services. The intent of our broad-based advocacy efforts is to enable women needing housing to develop a network of appropriate services and support to prevent future homelessness.

Referral Services: We receive a minimum of 25-30 calls per week from women or other providers seeking help. In order to effectively respond to these inquiries, we work with more than 123 other social services, government agencies, departments and programs. Our focus is to effectively create a system of seamless service provision by matching needs with existing resources - and assisting them with accessing those services.

Annette Rafferty Survive to Thrive (ARST) Fund: Through a collaborative application process, the ARST Fund provides emergency funding to cover expenses like medical and dental needs. This fund also helps to break the cycle of poverty by providing financial support to our women for education or vocational training helping them to become financially self-sufficient. Other grants and loans are made to cover the skyrocketing costs of obtaining permanent housing.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Children and youth

Where we work

Awards

Champions in Action 2009

Citizen's Bank

Paul & Nikki Tsongas Award 2020

Preservation Massachusetts

Affiliations & memberships

Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA) 2012

Mass Coalition for the Homeless 2012

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network 2013

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of homebuyers/tenants with low incomes receiving housing subsidies as a result of the nonprofit's efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups, Economically disadvantaged people, Women and girls, Victims of crime and abuse

Related Program

Abby's House

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We have 52 subsidized units throughout our 3 properties of supportive housing. 29 MRVP Vouchers through RCAP Solutions were provided to Abby’s House after the completion of renovations in 2019.

Number of households that retain permanent housing for at least 6 months

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups, Economically disadvantaged people, Victims of crime and abuse, Women and girls

Related Program

Abby's House

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The majority of women coming to Abby’s House use us as a stepping stone to eventually get their own affordable/subsidized apartment. We began 1 year leases at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019.

Number of bed nights (nights spent in shelter)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people, Women

Related Program

Abby's House

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The Abby's House shelter can hold up to 9 single women at a time. Within the last few years, shelter guests have needed more than the 90 day stay to secure stable housing, especially during COVID-19.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our long-term goals are to end the cycle of poverty and violence and to provide an environment in which these women can rebuild and reclaim their lives. Every past resident and shelter guest is invited to stay involved in the Annette Rafferty Women's Empowerment Center - attending group meals, participating in activities and using our internet-ready computers - and many do! The success of the individualized programming is based upon meeting its objectives: *100% of women who come to the shelter or low-income housing units participate in an intake interview with our Advocate and develop an Individualized Empowerment Plan. *98% of families with children will be connected with appropriate day care and/or educational institutions. *85% of guests and residents will make consistent progress on their Empowerment Plan goals. *85% of guests leave the shelter or transitional housing for permanent housing.

At Abby's House, our focus is to provide homeless, battered and low-income women -- and their children -- with SOMEPLACE. Someplace to sleep, to eat, to bathe; someplace in which to feel safe; to feel heard and supported; someplace to regain their footing on the path to independence. Our unique combination of empowerment, hospitality and advocacy has helped countless women take the next step in their journey. We continue to help women regain their footing on the path to independence. The vast majority of our women move into permanent housing, either within Abby's House supportive housing programs or in the community, after successfully achieving the goals on their Empowerment Plans. Given their traumatic histories and the nature of the problems that lead to their homelessness, this is truly remarkable. Abby's House was founded in 1976 by a large collaborative of women, committed to supporting other women, who grew a grass-roots response to address the critical issue of homelessness that was emerging as a community need in Worcester. It was this dedicated group of volunteers, led by Annette Rafferty, who did the outreach, the planning and the fund-raising to open our shelter. Today, we are fortunate that this spirit of volunteerism continues - involving more than 200 women each year. Our mission is, "to provide shelter and affordable housing, as well as advocacy and support services, to homeless, battered and low-income women, with our without children." In fact, we were one of the first shelters in the United States designed specifically to address the needs of women. We provide a warm, welcoming and safe place for women who are homeless. Within our walls and with our support, a woman can recognize her own inner strengths and abilities. We listen with respect and without judgment, and encourage her to be as self-sufficient as possible given her individual needs and circumstances. Each woman living with us is assigned her own Advocate, who helps identify realistic goals and tools she needs to achieve them. We empower women to access the resources they need to succeed, such as higher education, job training, affordable housing and child care. We also provide linkages to critical services for every guest and resident. We continue to help women regain their footing on the path to independence answering the door - one knock at a time.

Over the past 45 years, we have developed a multi-pronged approach to address homelessness: 1. We adopt a holistic approach to sheltering and housing women. By providing each woman with an Advocate to help her identify realistic goals and the steps needed to achieve them, each woman is met where she is. Using an individualized approach allows the Advocate to encourage, mentor and empower each woman to implement these steps on her own so that she builds self-confidence and develops a new set of skills in the process. 2. Through our Speaker's Bureau and rigorous communications and outreach program - which includes our newsletter, e-news blasts, and social posts - we educate the community about homelessness, poverty, domestic violence and other issues that impact the women we serve. In doing so, we help create a larger base of support for the work we do. 3. Staff and board members at Abby's House are active in the community, participating in coalitions, public and legislative forums, sitting on panels, and informing and affecting social policy.

We have found that treating each woman as an individual allows her to see her situation more clearly, recognize her strengths and challenges as she moves forward, and create a realistic plan for her to regain her independence and self-esteem. We receive our operating support from a variety of sources including: 48% from individuals, corporations, civic and religious groups and corporations/businesses; 25% from fees; 18% events and earned income (Thrift Shop), and 8% from donated goods and services, and change in beneficial interest. This diversification of sources allows us to be more sustainable as we are not heavily reliant on any one stream of revenue.

Our lean budget is due, in part, to the involvement of over 200 volunteers per year, who essentially save the organization an estimated $579,000 in expenses, based on the value of volunteer time according to Independent Sector. While this is beneficial to Abby's House it is also beneficial to the individuals who support the organization through the donation of their time and talents. Their involvement promotes civic responsibility by providing volunteer opportunities for a diverse group of college students and community members who work together to help women regain their footing on the path to independence.

Developing and maintaining positive working relationships with local professionals and organizations is vital for effective service and advocacy, and to maximize donations through non-duplication of services. Our Advocates are well-versed about the resources in the area and provide referrals and linkages to the services each woman needs to get her life back on track.

With homelessness on the rise and the need for safe, affordable housing greater than ever, a $16.2 million renovation was completed in 2019 to ensure that women who are facing homelessness have access to safe and supportive housing that’s specifically designed to meet their needs for years to come. The renovated 56 single room occupancy (SRO) unit building is now in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and includes an elevator, accessible entrance, three accessible bedrooms and accessible bathrooms on each residential floor. Electrical, plumbing, heating, and windows have all been updated and residential kitchens were added to each floor. Shared laundry rooms were also added on the second and third floors.

Within the next year we hope to continue to strengthen our data on the women and children who come through our doors looking for shelter and housing - tracking the issues that brought them to us, the success of the programs run through the Annette Rafferty Women's Empowerment Center, vouchers used in our Thrift Shop, and success rates of those who have moved on to permanent housing.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

Abby Kelley Foster House, Inc.
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Abby Kelley Foster House, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 5/21/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms Ashley Brandin

Attorney

Term: 2020 - 2021

Ashley Brandin

Interactions LLC

Robin Booth

CPA

Denise Darrigrand

Retired

Janine Diliberto

The Hanover Theatre

Laurie Matosky

Worcester Housing Authority

Samantha McGill

College of the Holy Cross

Jayna Turchek

City of Worcester

Jacqueline Williams

Greater Worcester Community Foundation

Eva Akese

Spinelli CPA

Selina Gallo-Cruz

College of the Holy Cross

Carmen Rosado

Worcester State University

Nydia Valentin

Institute for Health and Recovery

Jennifer Dragon

Advocates Inc

Samantha Jepson

S&G, LLP

Gerri Lorusso

Christopher Heights

Rosibel Perez Torres

Children’s Services of Roxbury Worcester Family Care

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/5/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/05/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.