The Need and Our Impact


When we opened our shelter in 1976, we thought that we’d be able to close in a few short years, having helped the homeless women in Worcester find housing. Unfortunately, the need for a safe place to stay continues to be even greater today.

  • On a single night in 2023, roughly 653,100 people – or about 20 of every 10,000 people in the United States – were experiencing homelessness.
  • Between 2022 and 2023, the number of people in families with children experiencing homelessness increased by 29% in Massachusetts.
  • On a single night in 2023, half of all people experiencing homelessness in the United States as part of a family with children were in three states: New York, California, and Massachusetts.

Homelessness statistics are from the 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Affordable housing is out of reach for those with the lowest incomes.

  • Only 61 affordable units are available to every 100 extremely low-income renters in the United States. According to the 2023 AHAR
  • In order to afford the fair market rent of $1,635 for a modest two-bedroom apartment in Greater Worcester, a worker would need to earn $31.44 per hour or $65,400 per year if they were working a 40-hour week.
  • The typical wage in Worcester and its surrounding towns is $18.22 per hour, meaning they would need to work 69 hours per week to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

But, the affordable rent for low income households are

  • $780/month for minimum wage workers
  • $915/month for Worcester households at 30% of the area median income
  • $1,255/month for workers earning the average renter wage in Worcester
  • $309/month for an individual receiving the average Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment in Worcester

*Housing statistics are from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2023 Out of Reach Report unless stated otherwise.

At Abby’s. . .

We are dedicated to providing women and their children with shelter, affordable housing, and the support they need to get back on their feet.

The women who arrive on our doorstep come to us from many different circumstances. Some may have just escaped an abusive relationship. Others may have lost their job. Every situation is unique, and every woman has unique needs. Read their stories.

At Abby’s, we rely heavily on the support of the community. This allows us to serve women from many different circumstances, helping each woman meet her individual goals.

Success is different for every woman. For us, success is each step a woman takes towards reaching her goals!

Our Impact

Since we began in 1976, we’ve helped more than 16,000 women and their children reclaim and rebuild their lives.

Our Impact in 2023


  • 79 women and 11 children resided in our supportive housing
  • 4 unaccompanied women without children were welcomed into shelter (prior to reducing our capacity for the shelter renovation)
  • 7 residents and shelter guests moved into permanent housing from our shelter


  • 179 women received advocacy and referral services
  • 56 vouchers to the Thrift Shop were given to women from the community in need of clothing

The Annette Rafferty Survive to Thrive Fund (ARST)

In 2023, $9,434 was given through ARST to help women break the cycle of poverty by providing financial support for education or vocational training, for bus passes for transportation, and to receive necessary medical or dental treatment not provided by health insurance, which helps the women to become financially self-sufficient.

ARST supports women as they face unexpected or increased expenses, they cannot cover themselves, such as…