PASADENA, Calif. — Yvonne Luna left an abusive relationship and has been living on the streets for a year and a half.
“It’s very horrible. I never experienced this in my life,” Luna said. “It’s the worst thing you can ever go through.”
She’s been living in parks and public places and says she’s had dangerous experiences.
“People bother you at night while you’re sleeping and horrible stuff,” Luna said in tears.
She finds refuge during the day at the Women’s Room, a multi-room building operated by Friends in Deed in Pasadena. It’s a safe space for unhoused women to retreat during the day.
The Women’s Room hosts about 15 women Monday through Thursday. The room is open for showers, laundry, food and a safe space to rest among other services.
Program Director Marlene Martinez said staff and volunteers call visitors “guests.” The interfaith organization is focused on hosting all women, regardless of religion.
“We’re all human when it comes down to it,” Martinez said. “It doesn’t matter what you believe in, who you believe in. It’s just human nature to help each other out.”
Helping one another is the goal said Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater, Executive Director of Friends In Deed. He said the organization has staff and volunteers of all religions.
They don’t proselytize but they are on a mission to treat their unhoused neighbors with kindness and compassion.
“We want people to feel that’s where our compassion comes, our dignity, our connection, how we treat people with kindness in the image of God, everyone, and that’s how we do all our services,” Rabbi Levine Grater said.
Luna said the sense of security is why she visits the room.
"Getting away from the streets, and just feeling at peace," she said.
The Women’s Room is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 444 E. Washington Blvd. in Pasadena.
Friends in Deed also operates a food pantry, bad weather shelter, street outreach, eviction prevention and rental assistance.