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Opinion: A CEO that strives to make Los Angeles better

CEO of local organization helps Los Angeles women facing homelessness find personal stability and wellness.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/riyakalra1/" target="_self">Riya Kalra</a>

Riya Kalra

January 10, 2023

As a strong advocate for Period Poverty Prevention, I wanted to share with you about a CEO and local organization that does so much for the Los Angeles community. Amy Turk has been the head of the Downtown Women’s Center located in Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. I recently connected with Amy to discuss her thoughts about the organization she leads.  

Can you tell me about the work you do for Downtown Women’s Center  and the program or programs you run? 

​I am the CEO of Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) where we envision a Los Angeles with every woman housed and on a path to personal stability. To meet this vision, we provide permanent housing, wellness and healthcare, employment opportunities, and advocacy. 

How does the Downtown Women’s Center differ from other organizations in Los Angeles? 

DWC is the only organization in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving and empowering women experiencing homelessness, and we uphold evidenced based practices such as Harm Reduction, Housing First and Trauma Informed Care.  

 What was your career path to be involved in this organization? 

A volunteer experience in a shelter for women defined my career when I was in college. After I graduated with a major in Sociology, I worked in that shelter and ultimately directed the programs for women within the organization. After 12 years at that organization and subsequently obtaining a master’s in social work, I became the Chief Program Officer at DWC in 2013. Just two years ago, I was promoted at DWC to the Chief Executive Officer role.  

 What can we do to help as teenagers? What do you need?  

As teens, my biggest hope is that you see homelessness as a systems and policy failure and not the failure of an individual. Everyone has a unique story that may have led to the experience of homelessness, but the solution to homelessness is affordable housing.

Please advocate with your local, state, and federal elected officials to let them know that you support policy solutions to homelessness. Additionally, the women served at Downtown Women’s Center tell us what they need and we keep their requests updated on our donations page. If you are able to donate items, please look at our website to see what is most desired by the women using our services. 

 For additional information on how you can help. Please refer to the website  https://downtownwomenscenter.org 

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