Abby’s House Completes Major Overhaul to Enhance Capacity

August 8, 2019 — Abby’s House, a Worcester nonprofit that provides women and their children with shelter, affordable housing, and supportive services to become financially stable, recently announced it completed a major renovation that will help ensure the organization's long-term viability and serve more people.

The overhaul brought the 1920s structure where Abby’s House is based into compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), which included the addition an elevator, a handicap accessible entrance, three accessible bedrooms and accessible bathrooms on each residential floor.

Additionally, residential kitchens were added to each floor and shared laundry rooms were added on the second and third floors. Prior to the renovations there was only one kitchen on the main floor and one laundry room in the basement. This renovation also brought major systems, including plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, electrical, and fire safety up to current building safety codes.

Now that it is ADA compliant, Abby's House will be able to serve a broader cliental, a spokesperson said.

In addition, new and enhanced program spaces will allow Abby’s House to expand program opportunities and partnerships, especially through renovations to the women’s center, now renamed the Annette Rafferty Women’s Empowerment Center.

The $16.2 million overhaul was by a $2 million capital campaign, $4,340,308 in historic building tax credits, $6,684,320 in low-income housing tax credits, $3,000,000 in funds from the state Department of Housing and Community Development, and $550,000 from Worcester HOME.

The two-and-a-half-year capital campaign, which ended in June 2018, was the third such campaign Abby's House has conducted.

Abby’s House will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for the renovated structure early next month.

Since its founding in 1976, Abby’s House, named after Abby Kelley Foster, an abolitionist and advocate for women’s rights, has helped more than 13,000 women and their children.

Today, it operates 71 single-room supportive housing units for women and seven two-bedroom apartments for women and children in three buildings. It also provides advocacy services to help women access needed resources.