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Memphis breaks ground on the region’s first barrier-free shelter for women

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 4:20 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Women in Memphis experiencing homelessness have a disadvantage when it comes to finding shelter, but soon Memphis will have the region’s first barrier-free shelter for women.

City and county leaders came together to announce the groundbreaking of the Hospitality Hub Monday, a facility that’s need is key in reducing the number of those experiencing homelessness.

“There will be roughly 2,000 to 2,500 people who become homeless in Memphis and Shelby County this year and for the overwhelming majority of them, this plaza will be their first stop,” said Memphis City Mayor Jim Strickland.

Located at 590 Washington Avenue, once finished, the hub will have a women’s shelter, a 25,000 square-foot plaza, and a 6,000 square-foot facility for offices and program space.

Kelcey Johnson, executive director of the hub says the facility will help with the imbalance of space for women in shelters.

“Ninety-six percent of all shelter beds in the city of Memphis are set aside for males, and women make up 37 percent of all homeless people, and 87 percent of all homeless children are in the custody of their mother,” Johnson said.

With only six percent of beds available for women now, the new facility will help more women like Amy Winburn, a current resident at the Hub Hotel, turn their life around.

“With the support and motivation I have received, I will ease into the next chapter with security and strength. I’m so excited to be a part of this groundbreaking and the new opportunities it will bring,” Winburn said.

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