Before the close proximity to public transportation and nightlife, a few hopeful members of the Church of the Savior saw promise in the 20009 zip code. They saw a need for safe, clean, affordable housing and responded.
Eventually they pooled their resources and purchased two buildings in Adams Morgan — The Ritz and The Mozart. This was the start of what we now know as Jubilee Housing. Since then, the organization has purchased and developed nine buildings with a tenth building under construction. In addition to providing permanent, deeply affordable housing in a thriving neighborhood, Jubilee also provides after-school programming and summer camp for the children of working families, counseling for individuals looking to stabilize their financial status, and supportive housing for people returning home after incarceration.
Washington, DC?is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and development. Unfortunately, not everyone is benefiting from this prosperity. Today, one-fourth of DC residents earn less than a living wage. Market-rate rents in Adams Morgan range between $2,500 to $4,000 a month, which is far beyond the reach of District residents with the lowest incomes.
With a new?five-year plan, Jubilee Housing is determined to create a city where everyone can thrive. One of the most ambitious goals of the plan is to create an additional 100 units of deeply affordable housing, in Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant, and Columbia Heights, over the next five years.
In a city where big developers are fighting for the chance to turn old properties into luxury condos, this is a tall order. To make these 100 units a reality Jubilee launched an innovative financing tool — the Justice Housing Partners Fund. This $5 million dollar fund will provide quick-strike acquisition capital for bridge financing, enabling Jubilee Housing to compete with market forces and build 100 units of deeply affordable housing in high cost neighborhoods.
Jubilee is seeking social impact capital for the Justice Housing Partners Fund for three-year investment terms, with a 2 percent capped return. This will provide Jubilee the critical time needed to assemble permanent financing. Once Jubilee obtains construction financing for a project, the original investment can be repaid with interest or reinvested, if desired.
The Share Fund — a donor-advised fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region — led the way with a $1 million match investment, which inspired other institutional investors such as United Bank, which committed $250,000. To date, Jubilee Housing has raised over $2 million in commitments for the Justice Housing Partners Fund.
Jubilee Housing maintains that justice housingsm?– deeply affordable housing in thriving neighborhoods with onsite or nearby services — is a proven model that can keep our city diverse and make its communities equitable. Justice housing allows long-time DC residents to stay in their neighborhoods despite soaring rents, and for our city’s lowest income residents to move to communities with the most opportunity. The Justice Housing Fund makes it possible for DC to be a city where all races, ages, and incomes can thrive.
Thirty years ago, as the Gaithersburg area began to grow, so did the homeless population. Faith leaders quickly realized homelessness was a problem, and they came together to provide food and other necessities. However, they knew that providing a hot meal was not enough for families, especially those with young children. In the winter of 1987, a few churches came together to discuss the problem and try to come up with a solution, and thus The Dwelling Place was born. It was agreed the organization would provide transitional housing and case management to single moms with children. For the first year, the organization served four families. There were no paid staff, only volunteers. In late 1989, the first Executive Director and Case Manager were hired. For the next two decades, the organization would experience tremendous growth, serving up to 35 families in the Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village area. We understood the importance of intensive case management in order to help families identify the barriers that led to homelessness and make sure that they would not allow those same triggers to get in the way of their stability. We believe that providing housing is not the answer to a family’s problem, there has to be a real connection and relationship, the one they build with their case manager.
Thirty years later, we continue to serve homeless families in Montgomery County. Our programs have changed a little bit, but we still hold true to our core values: providing our families with intensive, wrap-around case management. Through our program, we not only provide them affordable housing, but we prepare them for life after they exit The Dwelling Place. We emphasize financial literacy, and strongly encourage our families to be a part of our savings program. When they leave, we match a certain amount. We provide career counseling services, and set a goal to increase income every six months. We provide life skills classes, in which families decide what topic they want to discuss which will contribute in their journey to self-sufficiency. We work with the children in the home to make sure they’re thriving and have a greater chance of breaking the cycle of generational poverty. We also work with the young adults, many who are ready to leave their homes and go out on their own. We had a difficult year last year when we lost a major HUD contract, but like our families we remain resilient and committed to working hard to serve those that need us most. We are proud of the work we have done over the last thirty years. We have worked with close to 300 families, all of which transitioned out to permanent, stable housing. To celebrate this amazing milestone, we will be celebrating our 30th Anniversary with a gala at the end of the year. We are excited to reconnect with old supporters, past program participants, and former board members. More than anything, we are looking forward to thanking the community for their support, which has allowed us to do the work we do. It takes a village, and we are proud of the village we have built for our families. We hope you join us in celebrating our work!
by Carolyn Landes, Communications Manager, Georgetown Ministry Center
On a chilly afternoon this past December, I accompanied GMC Executive Director, Gunther Stern, and GMC Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr. John Tarim on street outreach (a program where GMC staff check on and visit with individuals experiencing homelessness outside of the Center, directly on the streets). We’d been walking for about an hour and as we made our way down a street in West End, Gunther called out a greeting to an approaching figure — a large man, well over 6 feet tall and of a stocky build, walking with a cane. To protect his privacy, we’ll call him Ed.
It was clear from Ed’s warm reception of Gunther that he was a familiar acquaintance. Despite his physically imposing frame, Ed was mild-mannered, polite and soft-spoken. Gunther and Dr. Tarim asked the usual outreach questions, inquiring about Ed’s health and well being and asking if he needed any of the supplies we were carrying with us — items like granola bars, hand warmers, hand sanitizer and socks.
I happened to glance down toward Ed’s feet at the same moment Gunther asked, “How are your shoes holding up?” It was a gentle but pointed inquiry. The answer was obvious to all of us without Ed saying anything. His black, leather shoes were well beyond the point of “holding up” — they were literally falling apart. Only his left shoe had a shoelace. Threads were coming out of the seams on both soles and there were large gaping cracks in the leather on both shoes. The hole on the top of his left shoe was so large that I wondered how it was staying on his foot, let alone providing any protection from the cold.
Ed demurred the question at first but Gunther calmly persisted.”We’ll get you some shoes. What size are you?”
“Thirteen,” Ed allowed.
“Thirteen? Are you sure?”
Ed nodded. And then softly added, “Only if there’s extra.”
At that moment, I had to turn away. A large lump had formed suddenly in my throat and hot tears were stinging the corners of my eyes. Although I’d been working at GMC for 9 months by this time and had witnessed guests experiencing homelessness in dire situations before, something about the image of Ed’s tattered shoes struck me. I felt a mix of compassion for this gentle soul - how long had he been wearing these shoes that were disintegrating on his feet? – and anger that I wasn’t sure where to direct. How were we – as a society, as fellow human beings — allowing this? The holes in Ed’s shoes didn’t form overnight. How many others had passed him, noticed his broken shoes, and just kept walking, ignoring his obvious need?
Our interaction with Ed was just one of many we had that afternoon. Walking for just a few hours, we were met with individual after individual — both men and women, of varying ages, backgrounds and dispositions — each with their own story. They all recognized Gunther and knew immediately why he and Dr. Tarim were there — to offer help, even if only on that day in the form of a plastic baggie filled with toiletries, snacks and socks.
The image of Ed and his broken shoes stayed with me and a couple of weeks after our encounter I inquired with Gunther about him. “Whatever happened with the guy we saw on outreach that needed the shoes?”
“Oh! He got them.”
I blinked. “He got them?”
Gunther nodded. “Yeah, I went home that night and told Alexis to pick some up in his size. She was already out shopping for the kids.”
I smiled incredulously. “And did you already get them to him?”
Gunther nodded. “I went by Miriam’s the next day.”
I don’t know how Gunther knew Ed would be at Miriam’s Kitchen, a neighboring non-profit that aids those experiencing homelessness, the next day. It was one of the many small enigmas I was perplexed by working with someone who had been doing their job for nearly 30 years — I guess, like in most jobs, some things are learned with experience.
I do know that my experience on outreach that day cemented in my mind as an absolute surety the dire need our community has for organizations like GMC. It is our responsibility to recognize the needs of our neighbors and to help those who cannot help themselves.
Georgetown Ministry Center is a year-round drop-in center, providing psychiatric and medical outreach, social and mental health services, case management, shelter and housing support, handicapped-accessible bathrooms, and laundry facilities to one of the very neediest populations: chronically homeless individuals who suffer from mental illness, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities, as well as physical injuries. Many are resistant to help, so GMC creates a welcoming environment that fosters trust. Last year it reached nearly 1,000 homeless individuals, including 60-70 “regulars.” An on-staff psychiatrist served 100, while a general practitioner provided care to 350. Moving from the streets to housing is profoundly challenging for this population, but for those who achieve it each year, GMC supports them at each step.
Calvary Women’s Services offers housing, health, employment and education programs that empower homeless women in Washington, DC to change their lives.
As the state of homelessness in DC continues to be critical, Calvary reaches women who are most likely to be trapped in cycles of poverty and homelessness, women who have experienced domestic violence, are struggling with substance addiction and are living with mental illness.
Calvary’s programs address the root causes of homelessness, so women can take control of their lives and plan for their future. In addition to meeting women’s basic needs by providing safe housing, meals and other amenities, all women in our programs have access to services that empower them to regain their health, build new life skills, and achieve financial independence.
Our comprehensive services for women include personalized case management, life skills, education and arts classes (LEAP), health services, addiction recovery meetings, and job placement services (Step Up DC). Women who obtain jobs through Step Up DC have an average hourly wage of $13, and 90% of those who secure employment with Step Up DC’s support transition into stable housing.
“Calvary is a great place to live if you’re serious about making a change. I’m working on changing my life from the inside out. Nothing will stop me from doing what I need to do to turn my life around,” says Calvary resident Adrienne.
The patio has undergone improvement projects that include the planting of new vegetable plants (such as peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes), herbs and three beautiful peach trees, as well as the installment of a “green wall” with climbing vines.
The patio quickly became a welcome respite from women’s busy days. Women now enjoy their education classes outside at the tables, and take ownership over maintaining and watering the garden. Every day, they check on the growing vegetables and find joy in tasting the results of their work.
But the new garden is not the only place where women’s hard work is paying off. Calvary’s safe, respectful community as a whole is a truly amazing place of transformation – a place where it is possible for women to heal from histories of trauma, build supportive relationships, and gain the skills and confidence to live independently.
We believe that every woman has the strengths and gifts that allow her to make these positive changes. Thanks to Calvary’s small, intimate environment, we are able to meet each woman as an individual and give her the support she deserves as she works to overcome her challenges. Our model works – every five days, a woman moves from Calvary into her own home.
I invite you to learn more about Calvary at www.calvaryservices.org. We are currently looking for volunteers who can lead various life skills, education and arts classes, assist women with job applications, prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals, and staff the front desk. We have opportunities for groups and individuals alike – check out all of our volunteer opportunities here. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media to stay up-to-date with all of Calvary’s happenings.
We hope you will join our transformative, empowering community!
by Julian Peters, Resource Development Associate, Housing Up
Housing Up is the premier non-profit homeless services and affordable housing provider in the District of Columbia. Established in 1990 as Transitional Housing Corporation with one 14-unit building under our belt, we have since expanded to five properties located around the city where we provide our support services to low-income, homeless and at-risk families. We currently serve more than 600 families throughout the District.
2017′s point-in-time count revealed there are currently 7,473 people experiencing homelessness in the District of Columbia, 3,890 of whom are parts of families and 2,268 of whom are children. There are currently 1,166 families experiencing homelessness in DC, and the lack of affordable housing in the city has been a huge driving force behind the homelessness crisis. The U.S. worker must earn an average of $21.21 to afford a two-bedroom apartment; in DC, that average is $33.58 per hour, the second highest in the nation. There is a clear need for the affordable housing that we provide, as well as the comprehensive support services made available to our clients and their children.The combination of stable, affordable housing and support services enables families to become economically self-sufficient and break the cycle of poverty.
Year after year our residents serve as living examples of determination and resiliency; we’ve seen people in our programs bounce back from the worst situations and turn their lives around. They are the definition of the human potential latent both in our client population and in the underserved in general; a potential so powerful yet so fragile, that it can go to waste if not properly supported and encouraged. Without organizations like Housing Up, our families can so easily slip through the cracks and become statistics, and we are motivated to support as much of their potential as we possibly can.
Housing Up’s mission is to end family homelessness by 2020, and we work toward that goal daily through the services and housing we provide to our families and through advocacy work to make affordable housing and solving homelessness a priority for the city government. As part of the Coalition of Non-Profits for Housing and Economic Development (CNHED), we advocate for homelessness and housing solutions to be included in DC’s budget, and our work in that regard is paying off: the District government’s budget this year includes very generous provisions for housing and homelessness. There is progress being made, but there is also much more work to be done.
We are currently looking forward to the renovation of our Partner Arms 2 building, one of our oldest properties. We are in the process of converting Partner Arms 2 from transitional housing to Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), which serves chronically homeless families with mental or physical health disabilities. Our PSH program is based on the Housing First model, which focuses on quickly moving families experiencing homelessness into permanent housing with leases in their own names, and then providing support services. The conversion of Partner Arms 2 aligns with the federal government’s priority for PSH programs based on Housing First. We’re excited to kick off development of senior housing and our future office headquarters at The Parks at Walter Reed, former home of the Walter Reed Medical Center. We can also look forward to the Mayor’s plan to build eight shelters for families experiencing homelessness in DC, which will be an important step in our city’s collective efforts of ending family homelessness in the District.
We love volunteers! We have volunteers come in to tutor both children and adult residents. We also have community gardens at most of our properties, so anyone with a green thumb may participate in the gardening at any one of our sites. We do yoga, backpack drives and food drives as well, and will allow for anyone with a particular set of skills or interests to come in and hold a class for our residents. There are opportunities for groups and individuals, for one time events and regular volunteering. Please contact Emily Koppel at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in volunteering with us.
We’re also actively seeking new members for our Board of Directors. For more details on our board, please contact Christina Peay, Senior Manager of Communications & Development at email@example.com.
This month, HomeAid Northern Virginia completed our 116th project to improve and expand housing provided by homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities – helping vulnerable individuals and families in our local area rebuild their lives with a secure, stable place to call home. Our most recent project was collaboration with the Brain Foundation of Fairfax County (another Catalogue nonprofit). With the assistance of HomeAid Northern Virginia, two Brain Foundation group homes that provide affordable, stable housing for individuals suffering from brain disease/mental illness – a population that is particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless – now have new bathrooms, more storage, enhanced common space and more.
HomeAid Northern Virginia facilitates and enables construction and renovation work on shelters, provides significant cost savings and allows organizations serving the homeless to invest their budgets in people-focused programs and services rather than building expenses. We facilitate renovations to shelters and supportive housing properties by bringing together the expertise of the local homebuilder community with the needs of local nonprofits who work to house the homeless.
By convening and mobilizing the donated expertise, labor, and resources of homebuilders and construction trade partners (suppliers, subcontractors, etc.) who work with HomeAid Northern Virginia, we have completed 116 construction and renovation projects. Together these homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities have served more than 112,000 individuals in our community. Every single project we undertake gives more and more individuals and families safe housing where they can plan their futures and rebuild their lives.
Homelessness in Northern Virginia
Nearly 2,000,000 people find themselves homeless in America each year. A lost job or unexpected illness or injury can easily disrupt a family just getting by. A veteran’s posttraumatic stress, or the courageous decision to flee domestic violence displaces others. Due to the high cost of living in Northern Virginia, even the slightest change can affect a person’s living situation.
Building What Matters Most: A Secure, Stable Home
Stable secure housing has been shown to foster stable employment for adults and greater success in school for children. Access to stable, accessible housing enables families who were separated due to homelessness or housing insecurity to be reunited. At HomeAid, we do more than build housing for the homeless – we change lives.
From the construction of entirely new shelter buildings to renovating sleeping areas, kitchens, and bathrooms, HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 116 projects have provided $14.7 million of construction to more than 40 nonprofit housing organizations that serve homeless families and children, victims of domestic abuse, runaway teens and other at risk individuals. Importantly, our projects have saved our nonprofit service-provider partners $8.4 million in retail construction costs, while at the same time enabling them to support improvements to provide a safe place for children to do their homework, for parents to get ready for work, and for families to get back on their feet. Instead of dollars spent on construction, our partners can pour more funding into the programs and services – education, vocational training, day care, counseling, etc. – that help individuals and families rebuild their lives.
Several of our projects and partners include:
Shelter House’s Artemis House, Fairfax County’s only 24-hour domestic violence shelter. With HomeAid’s renovation, the shelter now provides safe housing for up to 8 individuals at a time facing life-threatening crisis.
Youth for Tomorrow (YFT), a residential campus for at-risk youth in Bristow, Va. HomeAid completed construction of two new homes on the campus, each allowing YFT to provide shelter and support services to 36 girls who are pregnant, young mothers, homeless, runaways, or survivors of sex trafficking.
Loudoun Transitional Housing Program. The program’s eight apartment units that provide transitional housing for homeless families and single women were completely renovated to create a well-appointed and fully-furnished home to help residents rebuild their lives and get back on the road to self-sufficiency.
Northern Virginia Family Service. HomeAid expanded and updated its shelter and food distribution center, constructed space for a Head Start day care facility, and renovated housing provided for disabled veterans and homeless families.
Beyond the Brick and Mortar: Enabling a Virtuous Cycle
Beyond the individual benefits to those living in the new/renovated facilities, there is a virtuous cycle of good associated with each HANV project:
Upgrades to housing positively impact not only current residents, but future residents for years to come.
Enhanced real-estate improves the balance sheet for nonprofits, and improves neighborhoods.
In this way, our projects are not “done” when they are completed; their impact is felt across individuals and communities long-term. By strategically building what is needed most in Northern Virginia, HomeAid is able to support other nonprofits as we work together toward ending homelessness, one person and one family at a time.
HomeAid Isn’t Just For Homebuilders: “Helping Hands”
While we are always recruiting new homebuilders to serve as project “builder captains” and construction trade partners to collaborate with on our projects, we have plenty of other volunteer opportunities as well. The homes and shelter facilities we build and renovate provide comfortable shelter, but that’s typically not all that incoming residents need. Many arrive with little more than the shirts on their back. We started our Helping Hands program to make sure that individuals and families who move into HomeAid-renovated housing have what they need for a fresh start:
Our Fill the Fridge program collects gift cards so that homeless families moving into a new home can buy milk, fruit, and other perishables for a healthy start in their new home.
Our Welcome Home Baskets include basic but essential items that formerly-homeless families need for their new home, including towels, sheets, pots, dishes etc.
Our annual backpack drive ensures that children living in homeless shelters and supportive housing properties have access to a new backpack before the start of each school year; and our annual “Night at the Ballpark” treats hundreds of families living in local shelters to a Potomac Nationals baseball game – quality family time at a sporting event that may otherwise be out of financial reach.
Scout groups, neighborhood groups, school groups, church groups and other community organizations have organized collection drives for our Helping Hands program. These drives help make a house a home and you can make a difference by organizing one for an upcoming project. Learn more at http://www.homeaidnova.org/get-involved/volunteer/.
Anacostia Watershed Society
Each year, the Anacostia Watershed Society hosts thousands of volunteers at more than 20 sites throughout the watershed for the largest annual Anacostia River cleanup! After the volunteer event, a celebration with free food and drink and live performances is hosted.
When: Sat Apr 22, 2017 (09:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Where: 4302 Baltimore Avenue, Bladensburg, MD 20710
Volunteer Info: Volunteers remove trash, plant trees, and help clean up the Anacostia River.
Contact: Emily Castelli, (301) 699-6204 ext 6996204
Earth Day Chicken Coop Raising and Organic Garden Event
Join volunteers of all ages, including 40 Fulbright Scholars, to build a chicken coop, and prepare and plant an organic garden in celebration of Earth Day! A celebration of Crossway Community Montessori School, Family Leadership Academy and the Intergenerational Center summer farm-to-table programs.
No skills or tools needed, just a desire to work and learn. Age-appropriate activities for all.
When: Sat Apr 22, 2017 (09:00 AM – 11:30 AM)
Where: Crossway Community, 3015 Upton Dr, Kensington, MD 20895
Fee: None. Free. No advance registration required
Volunteer Info: Volunteers help with construction, site preparation and planting.
Britepaths (formerly Our Daily Bread) will host our 3rd annual Artful Living: An Evening of Art, Wine and Strengthening Community, on Saturday, April 22 from 7-10 p.m. at the Sherwood Center in Fairfax City, in association with the Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts Festival.
The theme is “Resilience.” The evening will include a juried art show with works by local artists for sale, live music by local Latin-Jazz band Batida Diferente, a live charity auction, appetizers, wine and craft beer tastings.
The event supports Britepaths work to provide emergency and self-sufficiency services to working families in the Fairfax County area who are struggling to make ends meet. A portion of proceeds will also benefit the Spotlight on the Arts Scholarship Fund.
When: Sat Apr 22, 2017 (7:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Where: Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center, 3740 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22030
Fee: Yes $45 by 4/21; $50 at the door
Volunteer Info: We will need many volunteers to help run this event on the afternoon and evening of April 22. A registration will be posted closer to the event on our Volunteer page at britepaths.org. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be notified of volunteer needs for the event.
Contact: Jennifer Rose, (703) 273-8829
Doorways for Women and Families is a local nonprofit, community service organization that creates pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault leading to safe, stable and empowered lives. The causes of family homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault are profound and varied.
Doorways works to break the cycles of poverty and violence through every interaction we have with our clients and by advocating for systemic policy change. We are successful because we treat each person as an individual, tailoring our programs and services to help every adult and child we serve overcome trauma, build life skills and ultimately unlock their full potential. From immediate crisis intervention to counseling, housing and employment support, we offer real options and multiple pathways to build brighter futures.
Together with our community, Doorways puts thousands of adults, youth and children on paths to brighter futures by providing:
An immediate, safe response to our neighbors in crisis, including Arlington’s only 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (703-237-0881)
Safe housing options, from emergency shelter through long-term housing, including Arlington’s only Domestic Violence Safehouse, Safe Apartments and Safe Kennel
Comprehensive support services that help our clients achieve and maintain stability, including Children’s Services
At Doorways, we have an unofficial motto coined by one of our team members: “Do for; Do with; Cheer on.”
When clients first arrive at Doorways, they are escaping crisis; basic needs such as safety and shelter are their top priority. In the beginning, we “do for” our clients by seeing to these immediate needs for them. Next, we “do with” our clients by partnering with them to set goals for their brighter futures. Through trauma-informed counseling and other tailored services, we help clients address the underlying causes of homelessness and violence and teach them critical skills for achieving and maintaining stability. Finally, we “cheer on” our clients when they are ready to take steps on their own, celebrating their independence while continuing to support their journeys.
From our immediate response to safe shelter and housing to our Comprehensive Service Model, Doorways empowers our clients every step of the way. Learn more about Doorways unique approach at www.DoorwaysVA.org/our-approach.
Who We Serve
Doorways serves our community’s most vulnerable members: families experiencing homelessness and survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Experiencing any one of these in your life is traumatic, but many of Doorways clients have experienced all three. Family homelessness and domestic and sexual violence impact everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation. We serve women, men, youth and children; in fact, more than half of Doorways clients are kids. Meet three of our amazing clients, Christina, Erica and Khadeejah, and hear about their journeys firsthand:
Hope for a Brighter Future
While the issues of family homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault may seem too pervasive to solve, we know that, together, we can make a difference. Doorways envisions a community where all people live free of violence and have safe and stable housing.
Through the generosity of our partners and supporters, Doorways empowers our most vulnerable neighbors to survive crisis, rebuild their lives and achieve brighter futures. In so doing, we help break intergenerational cycles of homelessness and abuse, building the brightest possible future for those we serve and our shared community. The strength, courage and resilience of the women, men, youth and children we serve inspire us each and every day.
Sharing in our belief in their potential and hope for our clients brighter futures, Doorways dedicated and generous supporters enable us to respond to the increasing demand for safety and the growing complexity of the needs of survivors and families seeking self-sufficiency, despite the uncertain, restrictive funding climate that threatens our ability to deliver lasting change in our client’s well-being.
Everyone’s journey to a brighter future is different each individual has their own story, needs, goals and dreams; their pathways vary. We celebrate victories big and seemingly small: a baby’s homecoming or first steps; a mother’s new, better paying job; a family’s new apartment; a young man’s breakthrough in counseling; a child’s creation in art therapy. Each step forward makes for a great day at Doorways.
We also know that the challenges that arise along the way are part of the journey, and we’re here to help our clients face and overcome them. We’re humbled to be part of their life and see the transformation that is possible. Through Doorways, this support has helped our most vulnerable neighbors achieve the following in the last couple years:
90% of clients experiencing intimate partner violence enhanced their safety by developing a safety plan, obtaining a legal protective order, and/or receiving accompaniment for emergency medical treatment post sexual assault.
87% of households experiencing homelessness exited to safe housing.
95% of children with social-emotional issues received services and treatment to address their needs.
80% of adults improved or maintained employment or earning capacity, and nearly 70% built savings.
Join Our Cause
The time is now. The need for Doorways programs and services has never been greater. Over the past two years, every Doorways program serving survivors of violence has grown. Last year alone, Doorways responded to 1,347 calls to our 24-hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline impacting 2,206 adults and children a record number in the organization’s history.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in America. This month offers opportunities to raise awareness about sexual violence and resources available to survivors in our community, including our 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline, Hospital Accompaniment for survivors seeking medical attention, Court Advocacy, and our Revive Domestic & Sexual Violence Counseling Program, which offers individual and group counseling to survivors of all ages.
Open Arms Housing, Inc. (OAH) establishes homes for some of the most vulnerable women in Washington, D.C. Janet Starke waves to a passing neighbor outside of her new home in N.E. D.C. With support from Open Arms Housing, women like Janet, who were previously homeless, have moved into permanent homes with a welcoming and supportive environment.(Photo credit: Kate Patterson/For The Washington Post)
This Women’s History Month, we think of women in need of housing who have been overlooked for many years who finally have a place to call home.
Our mission is to provide permanent supportive housing for women who have a wide range of mental and physical challenges, and who have lived for prolonged periods on the streets and in shelters.
Open Arms offers individualized services in welcoming environments, using a Housing First approach. The Housing First approach does not require agreement to mental health treatment or sobriety as a criteria for obtaining housing, which is important to expedite getting women off the street and out of shelters. Our vision is to be a leader in the eradication of long-term homelessness for women in Washington, DC who have a variety of mental health and physical challenges.
During this year’s Women’s History Month, we are excited to report a growing national spotlight on the women we house. Open Arms is proud to be among agencies across the country who are engaging in a national campaign called the “One in Four Initiative”. This initiative addresses the stunning fact that 25% of the nation’s homeless population is female and seeks to identify how their needs differ, as well as highlight solutions to meet their needs; from housing alternatives that build community, to treatment modalities that recognize an almost universal experience of sexual and physical trauma, to the opportunity to reawaken needs for self-expression, creativity, and self-worth.
OAH has long recognized the need for specially designed housing services for women. Single buildings, with onsite support services and activities are critical. OAH developed two buildings with efficiency or one-bedroom units, equipped with full kitchen appliances and private bathroom, onsite support service staff, and overnight resident assistance.
A wonderful day at OAH is when one of our longest residing residents says “Hello my sunshine people!!” Or one in which a woman for the first time accepts mental health services with a caring professional…or paints a canvas in art class…or reaches out to a fellow resident who has suffered a loss in her family…or testifies before the D.C. City Council on the need for affordable housing… or tells her personal story of recovery.
Over the next few months, we look forward to finding housing in the wider community for 51 additional women, through a new contract from the D.C. Department of Human Services, which will more than triple the number we currently help. We will be able to offer greater choice in housing, with case managers providing mobile services and linkage to community resources. Each person’s case manager will help her move in, furnish the apartment, make adjustments to living in the community, coordinate the community services, and support her efforts to live independently.
At OAH, we measure outcomes such as 95% housing stabilization rate, 85% resident satisfaction, 100% resident engagement in relationship with support staff, 95% participation in program activities, 70% of participation in mental health and/or substance abuse treatment, and 95% application for all financial benefits for which client is eligible.
Help us support the new residents of our Permanent Supportive Housing Program by donating “Move-in bags” with household supplies, personal hygiene products, and linens.
Join us for An Evening of Food, Drinks and Celebration in Rockville, MD on March 30th at 6:30 – R.S.V.P. to email@example.com For more information, please contact us at info@openarsmhousing or call 202-525-3467.
Today we give a warm welcome to Miriam Gandell of The Dwelling Place, who will be answering 7 Questions. Miriam is a self-proclaimed generalist in a world of specialized fundraisers. She has worked as a Development Secretary, Parents Fund Coordinator, Deferred Giving Assistant and Board Liaison at Harvey Mudd and Scripps Colleges in Claremont, California followed by Special Events Coordinator and Prospect Research Director for the Olive Crest Treatment Centers for Abused Children. She then served as Executive Director for the Foothill Family Shelter in Upland, California, as well as the Director of Development for Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County and for the last 5+ years, as Director of The Dwelling Place.
1. What motivated you to begin working with this organization and what need does it fulfill?
I have worked for over 20 years with children who are victims of abuse and neglect as well as children who are affected by family homelessness. The consequences of the chaos and pain felt by these young ones is my reason for working with families in crisis. Homeless families served by The Dwelling Place are in need of more than just housing to move forward and improve their lives. They are primarily made up of young, single mothers with minimal family support, education, or training, and they need the time and structure and role modeling to move forward both for themselves and their children.
2. What was your most interesting recent development, update, project, event, or partnership?
We have found a champion in Brian Holloway, former New England Patriot, through one of our Board members. Since retiring from football, he makes his mark on the world as an inspiring motivational speaker. After learning about our program, he “adopted” our organization and in only a few short months has made the community more aware of our work. He is passionate about helping those in need and we look forward to having him as a partner for years to come.
3. What other projects are you up to?
With the changing economic climate and demographics in our community, we are focusing on education and training as a way to achieve future stability for our families, in addition to finding affordable housing. Our Education Fund can pay for tuition, fees, tutors, books, and more, and we now require our clients to works towards their GED, attend classes for career certifications, or be involved in on-the-job training. A minimum-wage job with fluctuating hours is not going to establish a future leading to upward mobility. Without education, opportunities for future “careers” are extremely limited and we want to support the efforts of our clients to have hope for change.
One of our past (and most successful) families (a mom and her son) were murdered two years ago as a consequence of re-involvement with a past abuser. Their success stands as a shining example of how lives can change. They were an amazing family who overcame so much. She had made incredible progress but still tragically allowed this person back into her life. In memory of mom and son, we started a sport scholarship fund for kids in our program to participate in football, baseball, piano, karate, ballet, and more which they would otherwise not be able to afford. Spending time together and sharing experiences is a wonderful way for mother and child to bond, and we know Mom and son would be pleased to know that they are making this possible for others.
4. Who inspires you (in the philanthropy world or otherwise)? Do you have a hero?
I had a mentor in Southern California who modeled being an Executive Director and inspired me to continue working in the philanthropic arena. Everything I have learned has been through hands-on experience, starting as a secretary and working my way up over the past 30 years; as a woman raised in the 50′s and 60′s, I struggled with being both a friend and a supervisor, and with how I could best help whatever organization I supported.?My mentor helped me with this. He was straightforward, brilliant, and successful at running both large and small nonprofits. He still inspires me today.
5. What is the single greatest challenge that your organization faces and how are you working towards combating this issue?
Our single greatest challenge is developing a sense of self-responsibility in families who have grown accustomed to government assistance and can’t envision a life of financial stability without it. We can help our families find subsidized housing but that’s not enough in the long run. Establishing new and healthy habits, like regular budgeting, saving, and paying off debt is a daunting task and one which requires a significant amount of time and energy. But without it, changing the future and giving our children a healthy, positive role model and maintaining stable housing is not possible.
6.What advice do you have for other people in your position? What’s your biggest take-away lesson you would tell others that you have gleaned from your experiences?
Although people will tell you that your work must be very rewarding, some days it just isn’t. But keep all you do in perspective and take joy in each and every positive step forward your clients take. It’s not the day-to-day progress that counts but the overall journey that tells the story. And don’t feel guilty that you aren’t always “fulfilled.”
7.What’s next for your organization, both in the short term and long term?
Maintaining financial stability is our number one goal. We are working to enhance our fundraising efforts through major gifts and increased community awareness. Long-term we would like to be able to open a facility for young mothers where they would be in a communal setting and not in a scattered-site apartment, on their own, and without supervision. There is a great need for a program like this in Montgomery County.