On The Rise grew out of the hopes and stories of homeless women attempting to access programs in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area. Many did not fit the client profiles of these programs; others had been through program after program, never quite finding what they needed. The system gave up on them and they gave up on the system.
In June 1995 On The Rise's founder, Katya Fels, received a fellowship to create an organization to work with these women. On The Rise obtained 501(c)(3) status in January 1996; the following months were spent fundraising and developing the infrastructure necessary to create sustainable programs.
On The Rise's Outreach/Safe Haven program began in 1996, with two full-time mobile street outreach workers operating out of a small church basement office in Harvard Square. In January 1997, On The Rise moved to space which accommodated our daytime Safe Haven, a sited extension of our mobile street outreach. It became clear that our Safe Haven was something special, and in the fall of 1997, we expanded our Safe Haven hours from 16 weekly to 40 weekly. In January 1999, we added Saturday hours.
As word about On The Rise spread, use of the program increased dramatically in 1999 to 22-27 women daily, up from the 12-17 who used us daily in 1998. In early 2000, we obtained financing to purchase a house in Cambridge. We relocated to this larger space in April 2000.
To learn more about our house, click here.