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North Hollywood shelter shutting its doors

December 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The Women's Care Cottage, which has provided help to homeless women and children for 25 years in North Hollywood, is shutting its doors.It is a modest and cozy house in North Hollywood, and it was at the cottage that Rose Leone took her first step out of homelessness.

"I was just down. I have never been so down in my life," said Leone. "And I became homeless last June and slept in my car."

Leone is just one of the many women taken in by Women's Care Cottage, a nonprofit organization that operates a 90-day shelter and resource facility focused on helping women and children escape the grim existence of life on the street.

"When women come through to the cottage they breathe a sigh of relief. This is a home, a real place for them to stay," said Lissa Zanville, who's on the Board of Directors for Women's Care Cottage.

Zanville says private donations have plummeted in the face of a shrinking economy. With no funds to stay open, the cottage is scheduled to close its doors on Dec. 15.

"If we could get a miracle right now, it would be the perfect timing with the holidays for people to come forward. We need about $300,000 to keep this open for the next six months," said Zanville.

Wanda Scott and her mother Helen rely heavily on Women's Care services after falling on hard times following a recent disability.

"It's heartbreaking," said Scott. "There is no other place like it."

"We give women a safe place to come," said Elaine Konaskie, executive director of Women's Care Cottage.

Zanville and Konaskie hope private donations will increase so they don't have to close the doors on the women and children who need it most.


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