Center for Transforming Lives (Fort Worth, TX)

2851 S. Riverside Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76119

The Center for Transforming Lives (“CTL”) traces its origins to 1907; under various names its mission has always been to serve women in need. In the 1930s, CTL recognized that it could help most effectively by aiding both women and their children. While the following decades saw CTL’s steady development of a variety of programs and partnerships targeting poor and homeless women and their children, the need for such services increasingly outstripped the ability of the organization to provide them. By the start of the coronavirus pandemic, waiting lists for services were common, and CTL’s 1920s-era building in downtown Fort Worth was poorly located, woefully undersized, nowhere near able to accommodate all of CTL’s services and personnel, and with maintenance costs spiraling out of control.

Notwithstanding its dire facilities needs, CTL today offers a targeted and rare approach to boost poor and homeless women and their children into independence, financial security and, if necessary, psychological well-being. CTL engages with 1,500 Tarrant County families annually; its typical client is an African-American or Hispanic woman with one or two children experiencing poverty or homelessness. Household income for these clients averages only $20,000. Given the effectiveness of its approach, and in light of ever-increasing demand, scaling up became the chief imperative of the organization.

CTL’s board considered several alternatives and decided upon a wholesale relocation to a thirteen-acre site in east Fort Worth. Here, an existing commercial warehouse dating to 1959 will be repurposed into a modern, 102,000 SF facility. The combination of services offered in one location will permit single mothers to access counseling, housing assistance and resources for economic mobility all in one day, with drop-in daycare provided for their children and a robust early childhood education program also on offer.

In May of 2023, in partnership with Capital Impact Partners, People Fund, Pacesetter, McCormack Baron Salazar, and Capital One Bank, Crescent closed on a $39.5M Federal NMTC financing, to construct the Center for Transforming Lives’ planned Early Childhood Education & Economic Mobility Center (Riverside Campus) in Fort Worth, which will enable a quantum leap in capability and capacity for the 115 year-old organization, tackling Tarrant County’s entrenched debilities of high, multi-generational poverty and homelessness via a state-of-the-art facility perfectly sited for optimum accessibility and programmed to shatter the devastating cycle of poverty and homelessness experienced by so many single mothers and their children.

All programming will be organized around CTL’s potent two-generation approach, assisting both women in need as well as their children to disrupt the cycle of poverty and homelessness by arresting its otherwise likely intergenerational perpetuation. Key project elements will include an Economic Mobility Center, an Early Childhood Education Center, a Housing Connections Center, Counseling Rooms, and Play Therapy Spaces for children.

When complete, the new facility will increase childcare availability by 57%, grow by 27% the number of homeless women to be served, boost the capacity of economic mobility services by 65%, and provide to clients and the surrounding community a suite of behavioral health services currently unavailable. 52 new jobs will result, and 119 jobs will be relocated to the new campus.