Mary Albert, Martha Brunell, Dawn Stringfield, and Doris Waggoner felt called to begin a ministry for abused women and their children. In talking with St. Louis domestic violence service providers, they found the community’s greatest need was for transitional housing and support services for survivors of domestic violence.
Lydia’s House was formally established as a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. The first two-family building was purchased.
Lydia’s House opened its doors with one full-time staff member. A second two-family building was donated and renovated by volunteers.
The first residents achieved their goals and moved into housing of their own.
A $250,000 capital campaign was launched to provide funds to purchase a multi-family apartment complex. Lydia’s House then sold one of the original buildings and purchased a larger apartment building that was modified to provide a combination of efficiency, one, and two-bedroom units. The staff expanded to three full-time employees to keep up with the growing organization.
The new, larger building opened to residents, and Lydia’s House grew to serve 12 women and 18 children at a time in confidentially located, furnished apartments. Peer support groups were added to the programs, as well as community activities to provide additional support for the families served by Lydia’s House.
A Children’s Program was developed and staffed, and has grown to include scouting, summer camping and activities, and an after-school program. The Community Education and Outreach Program was added to create awareness of domestic violence and provide resources to the community. A program coordinator was added to the staff to support each woman as she worked toward independence.
Lydia’s House opened its 25-unit apartment complex. With these additional apartments, Lydia’s House is able to serve 35 families at any one time. The new facility has program and administrative space with a protected outdoor playground, a computer-learning center, and space for GED, life skills, parenting and economic self-sufficiency classes, arts and crafts, and recreational facilities.
In partnership with our generous donors, volunteers and community partners, Lydia’s House continues to provide critical support services and transitional housing to women and children that have experienced domestic violence.