Thelma Gaylord Emergency Shelter

This community-focused shelter doubles the YWCA’s ability to protect domestic violence victims.

Thanks to the many donors who raised more than $15 million in less than two years, the YWCA Oklahoma City has provided a new facility with increased space to help women and children escape the nightmare of domestic violence. While horrific statistics indicate that Oklahoma is third in the nation in the number of women killed by men, this shelter offers the capacity to house nearly 120 women and children, nearly doubling the previous capacity.

Working side-by-side with the YWCA OKC, FSB was inspired to create the only certified emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence in Oklahoma County. The new two-story building provides a much needed shelter to women and children victims and replaces the existing shelter, which is being re-purposed as an interim shelter, offering longer-term housing and support.

Women and children can seek safety, emotional support and medical help here, secure in the knowledge that the facility is equipped with state-of-the-art security systems and provides free comprehensive services such as counseling, medical treatment and exams and economic empowerment programs.

FSB designers created an environment that fosters a sense of community among its residents. The courageous women and children who are sheltered here can begin to rebuild their lives surrounded by the comfort of modern, updated rooms, as well as indoor and outdoor playgrounds that encourage play time with their children, even during a time of crisis. A kitchen, dining room, medical clinic, laundry facilities, TV/media room and children’s play area, along with meeting rooms and administrative offices, round out the facility.

Sited on the same lot as the headquarters, transitional housing and renovated shelter, the new shelter is a brick and stone building that respects the surrounding residential areas and provides a safe haven for the residents. A fence is provided for privacy and security around the perimeter of the lot, but opens up with a wrought iron fence where it faces the other campus buildings, to foster a sense of community.

Through our work on this project, FSB is proud to play a small role in changing the generational dynamic of domestic abuse and ultimately saving lives in Oklahoma City.

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Oklahoma City, OK


YWCA Oklahoma City


23,000 SF

“During the last 30 years working in the domestic violence movement, I have toured more than 200 domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters and transitional housing facilities across the United States. The design, functionality and aesthetics of the YWCA’s new shelter in Oklahoma City puts it in a category of ONE. FSB’s work created the most impressive housing facility I have ever seen. The YWCA’s facility speaks life, honor, respect and hope into the lives of survivors and their children as soon as they enter its doors. The passion and giftedness of the architectural team allowed them to take the values of the domestic violence prevention movement and integrate them into the actual layout, design and flow of the shelter in a way that will produce hope and healing for thousands of survivors for decades.”

Casey Gwinn, Esq., President, Alliance for HOPE International
the number of women and children that can be housed here
state-of-the-art comprehensive interior/exterior security systems
the number of years it took to raise the $15 million for this project