Tamar’s Center Provides Support, Supplies to Vulnerable Women

Funded by Greater Cincinnati Foundation & United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s COVID-19 Regional Response Fund.

Tamar’s Center, a program of Franciscan Ministries, is a day shelter and safe haven for women who are homeless, suffer from addiction and/or are trafficked for sex. These women lead lives that are subject to violence and exploitation.

The coronavirus pandemic forced Tamar’s Center to close its day shelter program. Thanks to the generous support of our community, the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund has helped them to continue to serve women in need by distributing basic food and hygiene items. Through the distribution of those supplies – to the women who come to the center, along with deliveries to those sheltering in place – Tamar’s Center continues to support their needs.

“People who are experiencing homelessness are very vulnerable to this pandemic,” said Elaine Ward, Executive Director of Franciscan Ministries. “There is almost no place where they can wash their hands or use the toilet. They don’t have the means to buy hand sanitizers or wipes. However, they know they can come to Tamar’s Center to get a bag of food and supplies. In fact, we are seeing an almost daily increase in the number of women coming to the center for assistance.”

Tamar’s Center Director Estelle McNair notes that an average of 80 people are reaching out each day for help. “We are also seeing an increase in the physical risk our clients are facing,” she added. “Many women are being raped or assaulted, so we assist them with obtaining medical care or trying to find safe housing. Because our clients know they can trust us, they are spreading the word to others.”

The rapid-response fund, activated by Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) and United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC), has already distributed millions into the community and will continue to support those in our communities who are most disproportionately affected by – and most vulnerable to – the health, economic, education, housing and social impacts of the crisis.