These churches first came together to save a historic landmark, the Wabash YMCA. Now, the historic building that was once home to the Wabash YMCA houses The Renaissance Apartments and Fitness for Life Center.
The Wabash Y was the hub of Black civic and social activity in the early 1900s. As Blacks migrated from the South to the North, the Wabash Y served as the orientation center for new African American arrivals seeking a better way of life. The YMCA was a social, spiritual and recreational center for blacks. One of its great historical legacies is its claim as the birthplace of Black History Month. In 1926, the idea for a Negro History Week was formulated there by scholar Dr. Carter G. Woodson. In 1976, this celebration became Black History Month. Declining membership and deterioration of the building led to its closing in 1981. In the late 1990′s, however, a nine-million dollar renovation project was undertaken by TRC to return to the building to its rightful condition.
Today, The Renaissance Apartments and Fitness for Life Center continues to help people improve and rebuild their lives. The facility offers comprehensive supportive services that have enabled its residents to regain their place in their families and communities. The services focus on three components: Health and Wellness, Employment and Education, and Life Skills. All services and programs are free to the participants and are designed to help them achieve self-sufficiency and a better quality of life.
The success in working with the homeless population prepared the agency to address other challenges facing the communities it serves. In 2004, TRC answered the call for supporting seniors raising dependents. In 2008, TRC launched its firs work force pilot initiative, and in 2009, launched Bronzeville Green, a social venture initiative of TRC.
In 2012, the Board of TRC restructured the agency to have more oversight over the board range of programs: Under the new structure, the agency has three business units: Residential Development, includes Renaissance Apartments (101 units) and TRC Senior Village (currently 71 units); Workforce Development for Bronzeville Work, and Bronzeville Green, and Commercial Development, currently hosting Bronzeville Retail Initiative developing an interactive website and developing a community resource center. The Board of TRC will make a final decision in July if it will pursue this business area, beyond the development of its Bronzeville Work facility.