Rosie's Place

Update: As of October 21, 2013 there is video related to this post on our website.

Kip Tiernan was a prolific social activist. After coming to Boston in mid 1940s, when she was in her young twenties, she spearheaded and assisted in the founding of numerous community organizations, including Boston Health Care for the Homeless, Boston Food Bank, Community Works, Aid to Incarcerated Mothers, Finex House, Food for Free, John Leary House, My Sister’s Place, Transition House, the Greater Boston Union of the Homeless, and Boston’s Emergency Shelter Commission.

In 1974 she founded the very first shelter for homeless women in America: Rosie’s Place. After realizing that many homeless women were disguising themselves in order to be allowed to stay in men-only shelters, she converted an abandoned supermarket and turned it into a resource for the homeless women of Boston. Rosie’s Place has since adopted the slogan “From Diapers to Detox,” indicating the wide variety of assistance they give to homeless women who face a multitude of problems, which can range from keeping their children safe from violent homes and feeding their families, to substance abuse and illiteracy.

In 1984 they moved from the supermarket building to a church rectory in the same South End neighborhood. In 2004 the Adult Education Program was established, offering free English as a Second Language and General Education Development classes, and in 2010 they finished building their own Women’s Education Center, which has eight classrooms and greatly expands the courses Rosie’s Place can offer.


Hevesi, Dennis. “Kip Tiernan, Founder of First Shleter for Homeless Women, Dies at 85.” New York Times, July 12, 2011.

Vander Wiedid, Kate. “Rosie’s Place debuts Women’s Education Center.” My South End, March 9, 2010.

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