WXXI AM News

Sojurner Home to continue mission by partnering with the YWCA

Jul 7, 2020

There are big changes coming to a local program that has  focused on providing services for women and families for about 40 years.

Sojourner Home has announced it is in the final stages of forming a partnership with the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County.

Under this proposal, the YWCA will take over some of Sojourner’s permanent housing programs.

Shelby Stenson is Board Chair of Sojourner Home. She said this partnership was not spurred on by the recent challenges involving the coronavirus pandemic. But Stenson does say the organization has faced funding cuts in recent years.

“We determined in the best interests of the community, and in particular, the interests of the women and families that we’ve been serving, to align with the YWCA, to be able to support and enhance their existing programs was really the best way to kind of carry out the Sojourner mission and the legacy,” Stenson said.

YWCA CEO Angela Panzarella says that this partnership will help the YWCA enhance services that it provides to the most vulnerable women and children.

“Some of the programs that Sojourner is providing are aligned perfectly with services that we provide and it gives us a chance to expand the offerings that we’re involved with, with the community,” Panzarella said.

As part of its restructuring, Sojourner has discontinued a transitional housing program it offered at its facility on Millbank Street in the 19th Ward. But Stenson said that key elements of that program will continue through the YWCA’s operations.  

Sojourner Home has been affiliated with PathStone Corporation since 2009. In 2016, Pathstone brought Sojourner’s programs and services together with those of Wilson Commencement Park. Now that Sojourner Home is once again an independent organization, Wilson Commencement Park will continue to operate as an affiliate of PathStone.

The YWCA plans to dedicate its emergency housing program for women and families as the “Sojourner House of Strength at the YWCA.”