Obituary: Kip Tiernan, 85, Founded First Women’s Homeless Shelter

Mary Jane “Kip” Tiernan, who founded the country’s first homeless shelter for women, died July 2 of cancer, writes The New York Times. She was 85.

Ms. Tiernan opened Rosie’s Place in an abandoned supermarket in Boston in 1974 after seeing homeless women disguise themselves as men to get meals at a male-only shelter.

Started primarily as a center to hand out coffee and used clothes and to give a few needy women a place to sleep, Rosie’s Place now has 20 beds and provide an array of services, including a food pantry, a literacy program, and drug and alcohol counseling.

Ms. Tiernan went on to help start the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, the Greater Boston Food Bank, and the city’s Emergency Shelter Commission.

Return to Top