Why We're Here

Rosie’s Place was founded when, in 1974, our founder Kip Tiernan saw poor women disguising themselves as men to get a meal at men-only shelters in Boston and said, “We can do better than that.” We continue to reach out to poor and homeless women who hide in plain sight, trying every day to understand the right way to encourage and engage them.  

We acknowledge that coming to Rosie’s Place is for most of our guests an admission of defeat. For her, that first day in our community is probably one of her worst days. She arrives considering herself a collection of problems, of faults—homeless, hungry, jobless, addicted, ill.  Right from the start, we work to turn that around, to hold in our hearts the image of a strong and dignified woman who can make decisions that help her go where she wants to go. While we provide resources and information, we also provide the message that every woman is a strong and resourceful individual, whose past and present need not be her limits. We strive to hold that image regardless of the setbacks our guests face along the way.

We know, too, that second chances have to be a part of life—sometimes lots of second chances. Because they live with so little, there’s no room for error in our guests’ lives. Budgets are precarious, as are jobs and apartments. One misstep can lead to a fall from grace that is spectacular not only in its speed but in its magnitude. At Rosie’s Place, we understand that the solutions for our guests are found over the long term, and are often more piecemeal than complete. We stand by our guests for as long as they need in order to make a difference.

We also look outward to effect change, working with our community partners to advocate for the issues that affect our work and the lives of our guests through our Public Policy efforts.