Beginning in 1878, Mrs. Helen B. Cogswell and her sisters from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union saw a need to help women living on the street and offered food, clothing, support and spiritual guidance at the “Open Door"
1878 - The Beginning
By 1892 they determined a more permanent home was required and the Home for Friendless Girls opened. Serving women released from the Cleveland Workhouse, the residence provided a complete home with oversight by a matron, training in domestic work, spiritual guidance and anti-alcohol encouragement.
1892 - Friendless Girls
By 1899 the home moved to the Westside of Cleveland and the focus switched to preventive rather than reformatory work, housing girls 10 to 18 years of age.
1899 - A Move to Cleveland's Westside
After receiving a donation of property the present historic structure was built in 1914 with 27 private rooms and a shared bathroom on each floor. It became known as the Cleveland Training Home for Girls when incorporated in 1937.
1914 - A New Home
The home changed its name to Cogswell Hall in honor of its founder, Helen Cogswell and started serving young women ages 18-35 in 1952.
1952 - Name Change
In the 1970’s landlords began renting to single women and Cogswell Hall responded by housing those most in need of a low cost secure home – women 60 and older.
1970 - Housing Those Most in Need
As more assisted living communities and subsidized housing sites were developed over time, women 60 and over had more housing options. Cogswell Hall again responded to those most in need in the community, removed the age barrier and became a home for single women of any age struggling to maintain housing. On-site supportive services to address multiple barriers to housing were introduced in 2004.
2004 - More Housing Options
As the organization looked to the future and considered the need to address the aging building infrastructure, Cogswell Hall strategically developed and completed an expansion and renovation of the historic structure in 2009.
2009 - The Hall Reborn
Today Cogswell Hall houses and serves low income men and women struggling with mental illness, development and physical disabilities, substance abuse, and the effects of homelessness and trauma. Mrs. Cogswell can be proud that her legacy will respond to the housing needs of single adults for at least the next 100 years.
Today- All Are Welcome