Right now, there are hundreds of women living under the bridges in Dallas, separated from their children with no means to reunite with them due to the lack of suitable housing and shelter to accommodate their needs. These chronically homeless women are not often standing in line at a shelter. They may not be seeking out programs or help. The trauma that brought them to the streets is keeping them there, and often it is recurring on a regular basis…so much so that they want to disappear. They have grown accustomed to being “invisible” and overlooked. Many factors may drive a woman to the streets. Post-traumatic stress, domestic violence, lack of affordable housing, job loss and unemployment, lack of social support network, mental illness, physical disability, and substance abuse are some of the most common catalysts to homelessness for women. Regardless of the cause, these broken, weary women deserve to know they are seen and loved. They have forgotten they are God’s beloved daughters, and we, at the Refuge want to remind them of their true identity. The Refuge will be a place where women can find a very present help in their time of trouble. Maya Angelou said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but very rarely do we admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” A caterpillar must go through certain steps before emerging from a cocoon to take flight as a butterfly. In the same way, it can be a long and agonizing journey from homeless to whole. We are here to embrace every step of that journey with the women who enter our doors. We know it will be messy, and it will not be easy…but we are in it together for the long-haul, and we will be present to watch each other take flight when we finally leave the safety of our cocoon. The Refuge will be a place of social and spiritual transformation for EVERYONE who enters. God wants all of us to transform in different ways, and we invite Him to work on our hearts here at the Refuge. That is the beautiful difference that will make this center a beacon in our city. The founder of The Refuge, Monica McGee has for a long time had a heart for women experiencing homelessness and trauma. Having experienced both herself as a young woman, she is acutely aware of their struggles and pain. She understands the importance of having someone to rely on who will stick with you as you re-claim your life because without that kind of support she might not be where she is today. Now, 25 years later, Monica’s life is devoted to being a tangible expression of God’s deep love for His daughters who are homeless and hurting. She developed The Sisterhood Program at Austin Street Center, a support community for guests of Austin Street Shelter and members of the Dallas community. This Sisterhood program has made such a difference in the lives of all involved. As Monica watched woman after woman come back to her life, she began to realize God is calling her to reach farther and wider into the community to connect chronically homeless women with others who will walk alongside them for as long as it takes for them to be restored. Monica’s strategies are tried and true. If anyone can reach to the farthest places, she can. This type of partnership can truly transform our city. We know there are women in Dallas right now who need this program and this place. Won't you partner with us to give them a place to call home?