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YWCAs closing facilities

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By Leslie Williams

Aiming to adapt to changing community needs, Charlotte-based YWCA Central Carolinas and Raleigh-based YWCA of the Greater Triangle both have decided to sell facilities, either ending programs or shifting services to other locations.

In September, YWCA Central Carolinas will close a child-development facility that serves about 140 children.

The YWCA, which this year launched a $7.5 million capital campaign, has sold the uptown facility for $4.1 million, and will split the proceeds with Child Care Resources and use its share for operations and to retire its $1 million debt.

The decision to sell the 4th Street property to Weddington Properties came out of a strategic planning process the YWCA started in 2001 that projected its financial needs based on changing community needs, says Jane McIntyre, executive director.

“We also look at the sale as an opportunity to secure our future long-term,” she says.

The YWCA, which operates without a significant endowment, will share proceeds from the sale with Child Care Resources as part of an agreement created when the facility was constructed nearly two decades ago.

Child Care Resources has visited the facility several times to help families find childcare to replace the services that have been provided at the uptown facility.

McIntyre says the time was right to sell the facility, located across the street from the new Charlotte Bobcats Arena.

Development of the arena has helped double the value of the property, and the board identified new community needs during planning sessions.

“We went into [childcare] in 1917 when no one else was in the business,” she says, but other organizations have stepped up to fill demand.

YWCAs throughout the U.S. are focusing on expanding emergency housing, and the Central Carolinas YWCA has identified a big need for transitional housing for families, McIntyre says.

So the YWCA has established its first new program in 40 years, known as Families Together, to provide transitional housing to families with children.

Some funds raised in the YWCA’s capital campaign will support a new 10-unit facility for the family program.

In Raleigh, YWCA of the Greater Triangle plans to sell its facility on Oberlin Road, and will transfer many services it offers there to its Hargett Street location near downtown, says Leigh Duque, executive director.

Driving the sale was a desire by the YWCA’s board to let community needs, not the location of existing facilities, determine its programs and services.

“A number of the programs and services that are most successful and most impactful are not ones that rely on a YWCA facility,” she says.

One service that will change with the closing of the facility is a program that leases dormitory-style quarters to 31 women as part of the YWCA’s Women in Transition program.

Through partnerships with other community organizations, the YWCA will continue to place women from the program in other residences.

Duque says the YWCA is not planning to begin a formal capital campaign for funding, but that changing community needs could later lead to development of YWCA-owned land near the Hargett Street facility.

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