Sister José Women’s Center is dedicated to the care of women experiencing homelessness in a welcoming and safe environment. For many Tucson women experiencing homelessness, we are their only safe haven and the first step to recovery from homelessness. We are a Tucson-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2009. Our low-barrier day center provides unaccompanied women who are unhoused with a stable and safe environment to recuperate from the daily struggle of homelessness and extreme poverty. The Winter Night Program provides overnight stays for women who would otherwise be sleeping outside; we provided 7171 overnights last winter. All of this was accomplished through the dedication and hard work of volunteers and university interns – they are the heartbeat of our organization. We are more than a center; we are a community built upon the values of compassion, dignity and respect in a non-institutionalized setting. For many of our guests we are home.
A community where every woman experiencing homelessness has a safe harbor and a path to a sustainable existence.
Sister José Women’s Center is dedicated to the care of women experiencing homelessness in a welcoming and safe environment.
• each person’s unique gifts
• the beauty in each person
• the connection among women
• meeting each person where they are
A Safe Place for Women Night Program
Each night our program offers 38 women a hot home-cooked meal and a safe space to sleep. We provide over 7,000 safe overnights each year to women who would otherwise sleep outdoors. Staff and volunteers cook and spend the night supervising the program. Safety and support from staff, volunteers, and each other help women come to believe in their own value as unique human beings who can take the next step forward out of homelessness. We offer women an extended stay in the overnight program so they have the stability from which to do the hard work of moving to a self-sufficient life.
Sisters Helping Sisters Day Program
Sister José Women’s Center operates a low-demand daytime drop-in center that provides three meals a day, showers, laundry, clothing, shoes, and personal hygiene products for our guests. The need for daytime services continues to grow: guest visits average 1200+ each month. It takes more than 1700 volunteer hours each month to keep our services available to women in need. Sister José Women’s Center is a hub of vitally needed services, we provide free space for outside agencies to be where women experiencing homelessness gather in a warm and supportive community.
Day Program Offerings
• Safety for women in a pet-friendly center
• Breakfast and lunch
• Sack lunches from Caridad Community Kitchen
• Hot showers and personal hygiene
• Free clothing and shoes
• New underwear and socks
• Laundry facilities
• Visiting Outreach from local agencies
• Free Wi-Fi
• Leisure activities
Moving Forward Program
Guests who stay in our overnight program are provided with on-site case managers in our Moving Forward Program. It is a two-tiered case management process that prepares women to overcome barriers, navigate social services, and enter the rental or job market. Guests complete two classes: Housing Readiness and Coping Skills for Congregate Living. Case management liaises with outside agencies on behalf of guests. Moving Forward provides funds for rental application deposits, or 1st month’s rent. 70% who leave Moving Forward move into improved circumstances. Every stay plants the seed for women to come to believe in the possibility of an improved life and their capacity to achieve it.
100% of program participants complete HUD’s assessment for housing assistance
90% replace their AZ photo ID and Social Security card
90% apply or renew their food and healthcare benefits
90% who need pre-employment work adjustment will complete an intake with an employment program
Together We Make an Impact
We receive 60% of our support from individuals like you.
26,218 breakfasts, hot lunches, and dinners. Nutritious meals are vital to help keep our guests healthy and comfortable.
7,171 overnight stays by otherwise unsheltered women. Our Expansion Project will help increase this number!
14,357 visits to our Day Program where guests can shower, do laundry, and meet with community resource representatives.
Meet Our Board and Staff
Board of Directors
Shelley Watson, Southern Arizona Leadership Council
Gwen Gallegos, Community Member
Tracy A. Scholz, PNC Bank
Aida Samuel, The Offshore Group
Rob Burris, Burris & MacOmber, PLLC
Msgr. Tom Cahalane, Community Member
Isabel Georgelos, YWCA
Mark Mistler, Community Member
Treth Sanchez, Thomlinson Financial Group
Diana Sheldon, Diana Sheldon Non Profit Consulting
Cristie Street, Nextrio
Steve Tofel, Community Member
Founder and CEO
Donor Engagement Manager
Director of Grants and Program Evaluation
Volunteer and Administrative Coordinator
Peggy Stefanski Brown
We are proud to work in partnership with many civil and faith-based groups, social services and other friends in Tucson’s generous and open-hearted community.
CARIDAD Community Kitchen
Catholic Diocese of Tucson
Center for Spiritual Living
Compass Affordable Housing
COPE Community Services
Easterseals Blake Foundation
El Rio Health Center
Grace St. Paul Episcopal Church
The H.S. Lopez Family Foundation
Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona
Kol Ami Synagogue
Lutheran Church of the Foothills
Pima County Library Book Bike
Portable, Practical Educational Preparation (PPEP)
St. Vincent de Paul
Salpointe High School
Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW)
State Employees Charitable Campaign (SECC)
Tucson-Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness (TPCH)
Sister José Hobday (1929-2009)
Our Center is named in honor of Sister José Hobday, a Franciscan nun who dedicated her life to helping the poor. Sr. José was one of America’s most popular speakers on prayer and spirituality during her lifetime. Her enthusiasm for the presence of God in the ordinary was truly contagious. Her stories drawn from her own experience growing up as a Native American Catholic in the American Southwest, eloquently communicate her relationship with and commitment to God, family and community.
Sr. José had a passionate love for the poor and those on the margins of life. She was a close friend of Dorothy Day and Ceasar Chavez and followed the Gospel way of St. Francis and St. Clare. Sr. José lived the final years of her life in Tucson. The Women’s Center is dedicated to her memory and to the spirit of her life. May all who seek shelter here be touched and embraced through the gift of her mystical prayer and through her Lord and Savior who came not to be served but to serve, and to lay down his life as a ransom for the many.
~ Msgr. Tom Cahalane, Board Member
Read More About Sister José Hobday
By Kimberly Matas, Arizona Daily Star, April 15, 2009
Find Books by Sister José Hobday
Simple Living: The Path to Joy and Freedom (View on Amazon)
Sister José Women’s Center
1050 S Park Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719
To Donate by Mail
Donations and other professional correspondence should be sent to:
1028 S Park Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719
Guest mail can be sent to street address:
1050 S Park Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719
Email Our Staff:
Jean Fedigan, Founder and CEO
Emily Bridson, Donor Engagement Manager
Penny Buckley, Director of Grants and Program Evaluation
Brenda Druke, Volunteer and Administrative Coordinator
Nicola Hartmann, COO
Laura Lynn, Program Director
Peggy Stefanski Brown, Administrative Assistant
Sister José Women’s Center does not require identification or other documentation for use of our services. Sister José Women’s Center will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, age, ancestry, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, or military status.
Copyright © Sister José Women’s Center. All Rights Reserved.