FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bay Area Rescue Mission unveils its brand new 114-bed shelter for homeless women and children.
Richmond (April 26, 2022) – The Bay Area Rescue Mission (BARM) is proud to announce the opening of its brand new ‘Muriel E. Mayes Center for Women and Children’. The $5.6 million dollar structure will provide homeless women and children a safe space to rebuild their lives. It is a 10,000 square foot, two story building located adjacent to our existing shelter, which has been in operation since 1965. One-hundred percent privately funded, BARM receives no revenue from any government entity.
“We are thrilled to see this vision finally become a reality thanks to the loyal and generous donors who support our mission year after year”, said CEO Bram Begonia. “To have them dig even deeper into their pockets to build this safe haven for women and children is truly extraordinary, especially considering the fact that 60% of the construction cost was donated during the two year pandemic, which we all know, was an extremely challenging and uncertain time.”
The idea for the new shelter was conceived more than a decade ago when BARM literally had ‘no room at the inn’ for all the women and children seeking our help. A study conducted by Episcopal Community Services found that 93% of women are sexually assaulted within five days of being homeless while trying to survive living on the streets due to unemployment, domestic violence, lack of education, addictive behaviors, and/or unaffordable housing.
“Now, for the foreseeable future, we will have a place for this vulnerable population to call home. At least 50% of the women who come to us have been physically victimized at the hands of another. Now they will have a safe, secure, uplifting place to heal, grow, and rebuild their lives.” Said Begonia.
The building is named for Muriel E. Mayes, a native of South Africa who, after graduating from a prestigious university in 1936, dedicated much of her life to teaching troubled youth in what was then called a ‘reformatory’. Court ordered to the school, most of these young adults had been homeless, traumatized, and faced a myriad of behavioral issues. Muriel loved them all and taught her own children to respect and embrace those who face seemingly insurmountable challenges regardless of race, religion, or social status. As a beacon of love and hope for Bay Area women and children in similar circumstances, we are proud to have this building bear her name.
Dahlin Group Architecture Planning created the plans for the facility that was built by Mark Scott Construction.
The media is welcome to join other dignitaries for the Grand Opening and Dedication set for Thursday, May 26 from 10am to noon.
About the Bay Area Rescue Mission:
The Bay Area Rescue Mission is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization intentionally located in the heart of Richmond, California. It serves impoverished men, women and children 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. As a privately funded organization, it depends on the generosity and support of donors to provide integrated services to people in need, both the homeless and those struggling to make ends meet and serves as a valuable resource to the city and county. It is unrelenting in its commitment and dedication to those who are hurting in our community.