History of YWCA Northeast Indiana

The YWCA of Fort Wayne was organized and first met at the Hamilton Homestead on East Lewis Street. Founded as a safe place for working women to meet.


YWCA incorporated and acquired the former Bass home on West Berry Street.

YWCA's 300 volunteers raised the funds to build a larger facility on 325 W. Wayne Street. The influx of women working in the city required more residential space.

YWCA opened the first cafeteria in Fort Wayne, eventually serving 800 meals a day.
The first swimming pool in Fort Wayne was built at the YWCA, as a part of a new free health center for women.

YWCA closed its cafeteria so that the Red Cross could use the dining room for work relief projects during the Great Depression.
During the war years, YWCA served as a liaison for servicemen's wives and war workers.
YWCA offered Fort Wayne's first Black history class and developed sports programs for mentally and physically handicapped children.
YWCA opened the doors of the first shelter for abused women in the state of Indiana. The shelter came in response to a 1975 YWCA study which named domestic violence as a major problem in the Fort Wayne community.
Faced with serious space issues, YWCA sold its 60-year-old home. The Allen County Public Library purchased the YWCA's building downtown and the YWCA  Board of Directors purchased the St. Vincent's Villa Orphanage property on Wells Street. The property was owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Fort Wayne–South Bend.
Byron Somers Pool and Athletic facility opened, creating the first local handicap-accessible 25-yard pool.
A new Women's Shelter was built off campus at an undisclosed location to house women and children victims of domestic violence requiring shelter. The YWCA Women's Shelter became the largest in the state and the only one designed specifically for its purpose at that time. 
The YWCA began offering outreach services to domestic violence victims in our northeast Indiana service area, and another expansion was planned to enlarge and improve the Athletic Facility. The grand opening would be held in 1990.
The YWCA opened the doors of the Self-Sufficiency Program for women who are ready to reclaim their lives after abusive relationships. 
Refocusing of the agency on its mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, the Board entered into a definitive strategic planning process which involved closing of the Sports Club and put the 24 acre campus up for sale. In the years to come (2005-2006), the Board positioned the agency for further growth in the areas of Domestic Violence Services, economic empowerment of women, racial justice training, membership and volunteer opportunities.
Deborah Beckman, MSW, LSW, ACSW, was named the new CEO and the administrative offices were moved to 1610 Spy Run Avenue.
YWCA of Fort Wayne became YWCA Northeast Indiana, signaling the agency's commitment to serving communities outside of the city, in Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells, and Whitley counties.

YWCA Northeast Indiana celebrates its 120th Anniversary of service to the region!

YWCA Northeast Indiana and Hope House, Inc. formally merge operations.
YWCA Northeast Indiana broke ground on a new facility which will allow for the co-location of our domestic violence crisis shelter, administrative offices, community and education programs, and our hope house division.