YWCA Cass Clay - Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women

By the numbers

  • 23,334 nights of shelter provided
  • 36 nights was the average stay 
  • 1,400 woman (617) and children (783) were provided safe shelter
  • 59% of women and children sought shelter from domestic violence
  • 76% of women and children have been victims of abuse
  • 77% of individuals were from Cass and Clay Countries
  • 62% of people served were women and children of color

Emergency Shelter

We operate the largest Emergency Shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence, homelessness, and other crisis situations in North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. Our unique empowerment approach and onsite programs make our shelter the only resource of its kind in the region. Wherever a woman may be on her journey, we walk alongside her to ensure she has access to the tools and resources necessary to reach her goals and ultimately, build a future free from poverty and violence for her family. In 2016 alone, we provided safe shelter to 1,375 women and children.

Education & Employment

We offer a comprehensive Education and Employment program (E&E) to help women effectively break the cycles of poverty and homelessness. Our E&E Coordinator meets with each woman to set goals, discuss any obstacles, and outline action steps for moving forward.  

The program also provides access to our onsite computer lab and a variety of job readiness classes and workshops including: computer skills, resume creation, and interview preparedness.  In 2016, we provided 659 classes and 98% of participants increased their knowledge. 

Recent additions to our E&E program include Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), a program designed to shatter traditional gender barriers and train and prepare women for jobs in growing fields like welding and construction that typically offer a living wage at an entry level.  

Women Empowering Women (WEW) is the first initiative through which we extend our classes and workshops to women in the community. Divided into two sessions of three classes each, WEW attendees are educated and inspired in a variety of topics from self-esteem and organizational skills to financial planning and holiday budgeting.

By the numbers

  • 571 classes offered
  • 1,200 class attendees
  • 96% of participants increased their knowledge
  • 844 one-on-one education and employment planning sessions provided

By the numbers

  • 655 children participated in Shelter Children's Services programming
  • 3,129 nutritious meals were served
  • 195 children enrolled in Study Buddies after-school program
  • 94% of the time, children re-enrolled in school within three days of entering the shelter

Children's Services

Shelter Children’s Services (SCS) offers clothing and school supplies, on-site childcare, and counseling referrals. Children staying with us have often been exposed to poverty, violence, addiction, and other unfortunate circumstances that hinder social and emotional development. While in our care, after basic needs are met, children learn about making healthy choices, have fun in a safe and supportive environment, strengthen relationships with family, and develop positive relationships with adults and other students.  

Also within SCS is Study Buddies, an afterschool program designed to help children succeed academically. 741 children participated in Shelter Children’s Services programming in 2016.

Shelter Faith Community Nurse

Many women who find themselves at our door do not have the resources to access healthcare services. An unmanaged physical or mental health condition is a significant obstacle for women working to transform their lives. Through a partnership with Sanford Health, our Shelter Faith Community Nurse brings health education to the shelter and empowers women to better manage their health through a holistic approach focused on mind, body and spirit. The Nurse functions as a health educator, advocate, spiritual liaison, and referral resource for women and their families.  In 2016, 99% of women said meeting with the nurse enhanced their quality of life.

By the numbers

  • 562 one-on-one contacts
  • 4,773 interventions provided
  • 1,250 referrals made
  • 218 women had their needs met and needed no further referral
  • 100% experienced enhanced quality of life
  • 103 medication errors prevented
  • 32 Emergency Room visits averted

By the numbers

  • 23 women and children housed
  • 6,289 nights of housing provided
  • 78% of women increased their education and/or income level
  • 85% of women improved their physical/mental health 

Supportive Housing

For over 25 years, YWCA has offered supportive housing and was one of the first organizations to do so in North Dakota. 

While in the program, a woman and her family have the opportunity to live in a safe, secure, furnished apartment that costs up to 30% of what she earns annually. Experienced YWCA Housing Advocates walk alongside each woman every step of the way, providing what every one of us needs to be successful in life – support, guidance and accountability. In addition we provide assistance with basic needs such as food, clothing and transportation depending on each woman’s unique needs. 

In 2015, through a partnership with the Sisters of the Presentation, our Supportive Housing program was expanded to 10 units, bringing the total to 32 units of Supportive Housing. In 2016, Gate City Bank announced a $1.5 million donation over the course of 12 years to help a 30-unit housing project come together in partnership with Lutheran Church of the Cross. YWCA’s Supportive Housing Program is a proven solution for helping families break the cycles of poverty and violence.

Homeless Prevention

As part of our unique philosophy of empowerment, we aim to not only provide shelter to individuals experiencing homelessness but work to empower women and prevent homelessness altogether. Our Homeless Prevention Initiative includes a variety of supportive housing options and short-term assistance covering basic expenses like deposits, rent, and utility payments.  

Another key component of this program is our Food Pantry which supplies food boxes to the community, specifically those who are struggling to put food on the table. By helping with these needs, we believe we can prevent homelessness before it happens.  

To receive a food box, call the Shelter at 701-232-3449 Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Food Pantry Location:                                    
YWCA Emergency Shelter                                  
3000 S. University Drive
Fargo, ND 58103

Food Pantry Hours:
Monday-Friday 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m

By the numbers

  • 25 individuals (16 families) were helped
  • 5,064 individuals received food boxes, many of whom are one paycheck away from homelessness

Racial Justice

The mission of the YWCA Cass Clay Racial Justice Committee is to create opportunities for conversations that foster a diverse and unified community. Members of the committee have been trained to use the indigenous tradition of circle dialogue to facilitate discussions that generate greater awareness and mutual understanding.