History

The Women’s Institute was created in 1981 to provide housing and economic development programs in the greater Boston area through collaboration with non-profit organizations, public agencies, and community groups to create quality affordable housing for homeless and struggling families, and also bring key supportive services and program space to neighborhoods. The shortfall of housing capacity across the state was quickly realized, and the organization’s geographic reach was expanded to respond to this need.  In 2001, the organization further expanded its reach to Connecticut with the launch of its first project in the state on behalf of the YWCA of the Hartford Region, and formally opened a local office in 2005.

 

Over the last three decades, the Women’s Institute has successfully created or preserved over 80 affordable and supportive housing properties, and leveraged a combined finance packaging of close to $250 million.  As a result of our work, over 1,500 families and individuals have a place to call home as well as opportunities for services and support.  Currently, the Women’s Institute is comprised of 12 staff across two states, has an organizational annual operating budget of $1.4 million, additional property operating budgets of $4 million, and total assets of over $100 million.

 

Our staff brings expertise in developing projects utilizing multiple public and private funding sources, and nearly all of our projects have integrated services into affordable housing.  The Women’s Institute brings experience in the development of different housing types – shelter, transitional and permanent affordable – along with first-hand experience in accessing the various public and private financing sources based on the project type. We have worked with numerous public and private lenders and funders to expand their commitment to funding program space and supportive services as part of residential projects.

 

We have built new homes for at-risk families, Veterans, and seniors, and have also preserved critical existing affordable housing that otherwise might have been lost to the open market. We hope you will take a moment and look through our retrospective of 2013, which highlights our projects, partnerships, and our work through 2015.

 

Most recently we completed Victory Gardens, a 74-unit, $30+ million new-construction project in Newington, CT, and the complete rehabilitation and historic preservation of the 103-unit housing program of the YWCA in Cambridge, MA. We are currently working on over two dozen new projects that will create housing opportunities for close to 1,000 at-risk families and individuals.