Norma Herr Women’s Center

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YWCA recognizes the systemic barriers to housing such as racism, sexism, and ableism and every day YWCA staff work with women at Norma Herr to navigate these barriers.

Address: 2227 Payne Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114

Phone: (216) 479-0020

Over 400 women have exited shelter and achieved housing stability since YWCA assumed management of Norma Herr Women’s Center in 2019 and are engaged and thriving members of our community

Each woman at Norma Herr Women’s Center has their own unique aspirations. Guests may be working towards gainful employment, stabilizing their health, or achieving higher levels of education. That is why women at Norma Herr work with YWCA staff to develop non-prescriptive, highly personalized, sustainable housing plans that meet their own goals and fit their individual needs.

YWCA Greater Cleveland is committed to advancing social and economic mobility. We recognize the systemic barriers to exiting homelessness such as racism, sexism, and ableism and every day YWCA staff work with women at Norma Herr to navigate these barriers. YWCA also advocates for the systemic change needed to end these inequities and ensure that everyone in our community has access to the safe and affordable housing they are entitled to.

Norma Herr Women’s Center is Cleveland’s only low-barrier emergency shelter for women ages 18-80. The emergency shelter serves an average of 170 women each night.

If You Need Shelter

For assistance, please contact Cuyahoga County’s Coordinated Intake office at 216.674.6700
Hours of operation: 8 am – 8 pm, Monday – Friday

After hours and weekends please call 2-1-1 for an on-call Coordinated Intake representative. If it is after hours you may also go directly to Norma Herr Women’s Center and staff will assist you in contacting Coordinated Intake the following day.

Coordinated Intake provides:

  • Exploration of alternatives to shelter, or shelter diversion.
  • Referral for emergency shelter.
  • Referral for emergency services, if needed. Services could include help with medical issues, mental health, and addiction.

Who is Norma Herr?

Norma Herr Women's Center

Norma Herr Women’s Center was not named after a donor or a local public figure. The shelter on Payne Avenue was named after one of its guests.

Norma Herr began her life as a piano prodigy who was on track to perform at the highest level. She was also a wife and mother before schizophrenia left her homeless and estranged from her children.

By the time Norma reached age 80, she was the longest term resident of the shelter and the oldest woman living there. Norma made such an impact on the other residents of the center that, when she was moved into hospice care due to advanced cancer, carloads of women from the shelter visited her every day. During Norma’s time in hospice she was also reunited with her two daughters.

When Norma Herr passed away in 2007 a large memorial service was hosted at the Women’s Center that would later bear her name. The moniker stands as a fitting reminder that every woman experiencing homelessness has a unique story and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

Norma Herr Women’s Center Wish List

Thank you for supporting Norma Herr Women’s Center! The following is a general guideline of most-needed items. Norma Herr Women’s Center only accepts donations that are presented to staff to be approved and logged. Calling in advance is recommended. We are not able to store or distribute USED clothing due to storage and health and safety requirements.


Lunch and dinner are the most in-demand meal donations that are needed, but breakfast and snack hours are available for donations, as well. At least a 7-day notice to schedule a donation of a complete meal is needed. We strive to serve three healthful meals 365 days a year and appreciate partners in nutrition and food security for those experiencing a housing emergencies. Call 216-479-0020 for more details on scheduling a meal for a weekday or weekend.


  • Bar soap
  • Deodorant
  • Laundry detergent pods
  • Adult depends
  • Body wash
  • Purse-sized petroleum jelly
  • Purse-sized lotion
  • Lysol disinfectant wipes
  • New underwear (all sizes)
  • New socks (all sizes)
  • New bottoms, sweatpants, scrubs


  • Combination OR keyed locks to secure guest’s belongings
  • RTA bus pass or tickets
  • Journals, pens, puzzles, yarn, art & craft supplies, word puzzles, adult coloring books
  • Self-help books and relaxing reading material
  • New inflatable mattresses


  • New or used laptop computers
  • Tall metal shelves
  • Bullhorn for emergency evacuations
  • New headphones/earbuds
  • Twin size plastic mattress
  • Metal bunk bed frame

Aftercare Services is a supportive transition from Norma Herr into Permanent Housing. Case managers help provide former guests with move out, cleaning, and other essential supplies, transportation assistance, wellness checks, and community resources to maintain table housing.

Aftercare-Specific Needs:

  • Household Items (including kitchen and bathroom supplies)
  • Bedding (including pillows and blankets)
  • Air mattresses
  • Cleaning and laundry supplies
  • Gift Cards


Gift cards are used for emergencies as needs arise, as well as for guests moving from shelter to permanent housing to purchase basic household items. Most impactful gift cards include Walmart, Target, Dave’s Supermarket, Giant Eagle, etc. Donations of housewarming gifts need special delivery location/times due to storage considerations. Contact 216-386-0018 to learn more.


  1. To order items to be delivered directly, please visit our Amazon Wish List.
  2. Material donations can be dropped off at 2227 Payne Avenue, 10 AM- 2 PM, Tuesday – Friday. No appointment necessary. Please ring the bell at the side door and call 216-479-0020 to ask staff to facilitate a contactless drop-off in our driveway.
  3. Monetary donations can be made virtually HERE, or mailed to YWCA headquarters with attention to “Teresa Sanders” to 4019 Prospect Avenue; Cleveland, OH 44103. Checks  should be made out to “YWCA” with the memo line reading “Norma Herr.”