30 Years of Shelter for Women


A ‘home’ for women in crisis

On March 18, 1987, the Hotel for Women opened its doors at the then YWCA of South Orange County. This was a project born out of the realization that the population of homeless women in and around Santa Ana was growing rapidly. There was a lack of shelter available for women in crisis, and the streets were becoming home for too many. This was the beginning of a journey that would eventually lead to the founding of WISEPlace, a transitional housing and empowerment program for unaccompanied homeless women.

The Hotel for Women

Constructed atop the existing gymnasium, The Hotel for Women was built as a 20-room, 30-bed shelter. Some rooms were built as single-occupancy units with a bathroom en suite. The remainder of the rooms were built as double-occupancy units, with access to dormitory-style bathroom and shower facilities. There is a large living room and patio, accessible to all residents, that truly embodies a feeling of home. Each room is fully furnished with comforts of home.

Becoming WISEPlace

It became obvious to the Board of the YWCA; simply allowing homeless women to shelter under their roof was not the solution to the growing problem of homelessness in the area. For over 8 years, the YWCA operated The Hotel for Women, but it was now time to do MORE. It was time to provide an education. Kathleen Davis Bowman was hired to become the first (and only!) Executive Director of WISEPlace, a transitional housing and empowerment program that would provide wrap-around services to help homeless women become independent. WISEPlace disaffiliated from the YWCA and since 1999, WISEPlace has been operating as a full-service program for unaccompanied homeless women.



           Commemorative Tile Program

To honor our milestone anniversary, we will be offering you a chance to honor loved ones, or leave your own mark inside our historic facility. Act quickly as space is limited. Please click here for details and the order form. We will accept order forms through May 31, 2017.

Pieces & Places: A Community Art Experience

 In honor of our history of providing shelter for homeless women in Orange County, WISEPlace is excited to announce an opportunity for the community to engage in efforts to end homelessness in Orange County.

Pieces and Places: Of home and others is the theme of our exhibit, with a reflection on the little things that make you think of home. The exhibition aims to challenge the often-negative stereotypes associated with homelessness, raise awareness of WISEPlace’s work and mission and provide a platform for the community to display their work in a public forum. A featured exhibit will also include submissions from current and former WISEPlace residents! This is an opportunity for the community to examine the roles we all can play in eradicating homelessness in Orange County.

The art will be displayed at WISEPlace in the Sycamore Hall. A private opening will take place on Friday, Aug. 25 and the exhibit will be open to the public for viewing and additional silent auction bidding from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 26 and 27.

For additional information please contact Cindy Jacobs at cjacobs@wiseplace.org, or call WISEPlace at 714.542.3577 Ext 123.

Click here for the submission information.