Our mission is to work with homeless women and their children to create hospitality in a safe and nurturing community, to encourage them to maintain dignity, to find hope, to seek opportunity, and to grow spiritually, thereby achieving their full potential.
First Light began in the basement of First Presbyterian Church in 1983 as an emergency night shelter operated solely by volunteers. The basement shelter accommodated 15 women and children, but would sometimes provide safety to over 40 women and children. It was soon evident that more space and services were required for the homeless women and children in Birmingham. First Light was incorporated on March 13, 1998 and a capital campaign was begun to renovate the old Granada Hotel, which was located just two blocks away from the church and had recently burned. The old hotel was renovated to accommodate more women and children, to provide space for social services and day programs, and to have living space for permanent residents who were unlikely to live independently again. Since its inception, First Light has grown considerably due to the generous support of local faith communities, corporations, individuals, foundations and civic groups.
Started in basement of First Presbyterian Church in 1983
Operated by volunteers from several different churches and organizations
Was just an emergency night shelter
Had space for 15, but would have over 40 women and children
First Light is approved as a 501(c)3 organization according to IRS regulations
First Light was incorporated on May 4, 1998
Granada Hotel burned
First Presbyterian bought building from city and organized capital campaign to renovate building
Moved into fully renovated building in May of 2000
Building was renovated to accommodate more women, to give families a private space during their stay here, to give the guests a place to stay during the day, to provide space for social services and day programs, and to have living space for permanent residents who were unlikely to move out of the shelter