Who We Are

Rosie's Place was founded in 1974 as the first women-only shelter in the United States. What began as a safe place for poor and homeless women to get a bed and a meal in Boston has grown into a community center providing wide-ranging support, education and outreach services to 12,000 women a year.


Rosie’s Place relies solely on the generous support of individuals, foundations and corporations and does not accept any city, state or federal funding. We are proud that 86 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to services for women in need.

Our mission is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that helps poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives. 

Our vision is based on the words of our founder, Kip Tiernan, "Never forget that charity is scraps from the table and justice is a seat at the table. Charity is giving to others what belongs to you. Justice is giving others what belongs to them.” At Rosie's Place, we believe diversity, equity and inclusion are core components of justice. We commit to acting on a daily basis to dismantle injustice to ensure that opportunities and equitable outcomes are available to all members of our community regardless of individual characteristics including race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation or perceived ability.

Our unique philosophy sets us apart from other service organizations. Our core values, such as unconditional love and a commitment to social justice, inform all we do for the women we call our “guests.” 

Rosie’s Place founder Kip Tiernan saw women dressing as men to receive services at area shelters and said, “We can do better than that.” On Easter Sunday 1974, Kip, with four other volunteers and $250 donated by friends, opened the doors to Rosie’s Place in an empty supermarket on Columbus Avenue in Boston’s South End. And the rest is history.

Learn more about us and lend your support!