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A Transformative & Empowering Community with Calvary Women’s Services

By Daniela Jungova, Development Associate, Calvary Women’s Services

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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.

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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.

Now that summer is in full swing, women love to spend time on Calvary’s back patio. Just a couple of weeks ago, the patio got a major makeover thanks to the generous support of the U.S. Green Building Council – National Capital Area.

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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.

CFP4But 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.

CFP1I 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!

Determination and Resiliency with Housing Up

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

housingup1We 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 ekoppel@housingup.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 cpeay@housingup.org.

Respecting the Dignity of Others with Georgetown Ministry Center

By Gunther Stern, Executive Director Georgetown Ministry CenterDSC_9082

After 30 years, I will be passing the reins early next year to someone with new ideas and energy, but with a commitment to our current mission and goals.

Georgetown Ministry Center started in 1987 with just one social worker, and a mandate to provide service and shelter.

I was working in a soup kitchen in Silver Spring when I saw the position originally announced. In a previous life I had spent time with homeless people in Georgetown. I became fascinated by the mental illnesses and the lifestyle. I couldn’t resist applying. As it turned out, I ended up helping some of the people I had gotten to know years before in Georgetown.

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I have become acutely aware that while housing is important to the solution of homelessness, we need to fix our broken mental health system, too. This nation’s commitment to people with mental illness is absent, both because of misunderstanding the problem and a lack of will. We are allowing people with no insight, who are completely incapacitated by mental illness, to choose to live on the street. We need to change that and we are expanding our advocacy in this vein.

Currently, we are working with local leaders to create a dialogue about the need for more aggressive interventions for people who are homeless because of severe mental illness. There needs to be a better policy than allowing people with little or no insight and judgement to choose to live on the street in squalor.

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We have grown over the years into 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. We have been working on plan with a foundation to use our space more effectively. We now have plans which will add some space but also better utilize the space we have. We are hoping to begin a capital campaign soon.

As the only homeless service provider in the immediate neighborhood, we serves one of the very neediest populations. Many are resistant to services and treatment, so we create a welcoming environment that fosters friendly relationships and, ultimately, trust.

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I am inspired by Bill and Melinda Gates. After building a fortune at a very young age, they turned their lives and genius to helping others, full-time. That inspires me to constantly review our mission. I am always assessing our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). I think about the risks of any action, plan, or for that matter, inaction and lack of plan.

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Last year, we reached 1,000 homeless individuals, including 60-70 “regulars,” providing 5,391 showers and 9,879 sandwiches. 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 a few achieve it each year and we support them at every step.

I consider Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban for her outspoken advocacy for education for girls, a personal hero. Even after the devastating injury, she returned to speaking out. She would not be silenced. It reminds me to respect the dignity of our constituents, and never talk down to them.

We seek lasting solutions for homelessness, one person at a time. For more information about us, or to volunteer, email us at info@gmcgt.org or call us 202-388-8301.

Around Town: May 18-19

If you are looking for a fun way to learn, make a difference, and get out of the house this weekend, these Catalogue nonprofits are waiting for you! See what is in store for the DC Metro area this weekend on Around Town. Heading to one of these events? Let us know–we would love to hear about it:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Grocery Deliveries to Low-Income Seniors in North Capitol/Shaw

We Are Family Senior Outreach Network
We Are Family will be delivering groceries to over 250 low-income seniors in the North Capitol and Shaw neighborhoods.
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Where: Metropolitan Community Church, 474 Ridge St. NW, Washington, DC 20001
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers will help assemble and deliver grocery bags to low-income seniors. Although a car is not needed, it is helpful.
Contact: Mark Andersen, (202) 487-8698
For more information: click here

LAMB 10th Anniversary Fiesta & Auction

Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School
Join us in celebrating LAMB’s 10th anniversary at the Fiesta & Auction! Food, music, silent auction & live auction, including items for many fabulous restaurants, hotels, and local businesses. Venga a disfrutar!
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (6:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Where: Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School, 1375 Missouri Ave. NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20011
Fee? yes $35 in advance; $45 at the door
Contact: Colleen Renk or Iyon Rosario, (202) 726-6200
For more information: click here

The Big 33: The World’s Most Important Dinner Party

A Wider Circle
Come see why Zagat calls 9159 Brookville Road one of the finest dining establishments in town. Okay, not really, but come see – and share – what A Wider Circle is all about! It only costs A Wider Circle $33 to provide a child or adult with all of his or her basic need items – from beds and dressers to sheets, towels, dishes, pots, pans, and much, much more! $33 is only a suggested donation. We invite you to come on out, share in some great food, hear about the work, and enjoy a wonderful dinner party. Have questions or want to RSVP? Call 301-608-3504 or email Dinner@awidercircle.org All are welcome, so please feel free to share this invitation with friends, family members, neighborhood listservs, or anyone who may be interested.
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 (7:00 PM)
Where: A Wider Circle’s Center for Community Service, 9159 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Fee? no
Contact: Erin Fiaschetti, (301) 608-3504
For more information: click here

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dance Place
DC based Christopher K. Morgan & Artists joins forces with NY based skybetter and associates for an evening of contemporary dance employing sinuous and abstract movement combined with detailed musicality. Performance includes Inclement Weather, choreographed by Sydney Skybetter, centering on the hallucinogenic memory of a beloved, lost grandmother. Co-presented by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
When: Sunday, May 19, 2013 (7:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee? yes $22 General Admission; $17 Members, Seniors, Teachers and Artists; $10 College Students; $8 Children (17 and under)
Contact: Carolyn Kamrath, (202) 269-1608
For more information: click here

 

Around Town: April 27-28

Looking for a great way to spend your weekend? Catalogue nonprofits have great events that you can not only attend, but volunteer at as well!! If you go to an event, tweet about it using hashtag #CatalogueCheers!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Race to End Poverty

A Wider Circle
Featuring a 4K run/walk and a tot trot! In 2012, A Wider Circle furnished 3,650 homes. This year, we hope to furnish 4,000 homes – 4K! Run or walk on April 27 and help us accomplish a 4K in service! Enter as an individual, as a team, or join the Bed Brigade.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (09:00 AM)
Where: Meadowbrook Park, 7901 Meadowbrook Lane, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Fee? yes $33 for individual 4K entries; $20 for ages 11 – 20; free for 10 and under 4K participants and Tot Trot participants free; $33 for the Bed Brigade
Contact: Ann Marie Schaeffing, (301) 608-3504
For more information: click here

Living Well With Cancer One-Day Retreat For Caregivers

Smith Center for Healing and the Arts
One-day Caregiver Retreats aim to help strengthen innate healing mechanisms through group support, yoga and stress reduction, creativity, and nutrition.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (09:00 AM – 4:00 PM)
Where: Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, 1632 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Fee? yes $40 per person
Contact: Smith Center, (202) 483-8600
For more information: click here

Grocery Deliveries to Low-Income Seniors in Columbia Heights

We Are Family Senior Outreach Network
We Are Family will be delivering free grocery bags to over 250 low-income seniors in the Columbia Heights, Petworth, and Adams Morgan neighborhoods.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Where: Kelsey Apartments, 3322 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20010
Fee? no
Volunteer Info: Volunteers will help assemble and deliver grocery bags. Although a car is not needed, it is helpful. Some of our delivery routes can be done on foot, while others require a car.
Contact: Mark Andersen, (202) 487-8698
For more information: click here

REVISION dance company

Dance Place
In JUST BE, Artistic Director Shannon Quinn leads REVISION dance company in exploring the raw emotions and personal experiences of working with people with disabilities. The evening length modern dance work invites the audience and dancers to focus on the abilities of individuals, instead of the challenges and stereotypes associated with disabilities.
When: Saturday April 27, 2013 (8:00 PM)
Where: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017
Fee? yes $22 General Admission; $17 Members, Seniors, Teachers and Artists; $10 College Students; $8 Children (17 and under)
Contact: Carolyn Kamrath, (202) 269-1608
For more information: click here

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mass in B Minor featuring Agnes Zsigovics

Washington Bach Consort
Johann Sebastian Bach Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 We end our 35th Season with the monumental Mass in B Minor, a work Bach returned to again and again during his life. Although it draws upon Lutheran and Catholic traditions the B Minor Mass holds deep significance for people of all religious and cultural origins. Bach scholar Christoph Wolff describes the B Minor Mass as a summary of his writing for voice, not only in its variety of styles, compositional devices, and range of sonorities, but also in its high level of technical polish … Bach’s mighty setting preserved the musical and artistic creed of its creator for posterity. Pre-Concert Lecture: 2:00pm, Talking Bach is a series of free pre-concert lectures by noted Bach scholars one hour before performances at National Presbyterian Church. The lectures focus not only on the musical elements of the work that will be performed, but also on the historical context in which the music was created. Talks are designed to enhance the concertgoers’ appreciation and enjoyment of the music they are about to hear. The series is open to all ticket holders.
When: Sunday April 28, 2013 (3:00 PM)
Where: National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
Fee? yes Tickets $23-$65, Students 18 and younger $10, Pay Your Age 18-38
Volunteer Info: Usher, Sell Tickets, Direct Patrons, Clean up after Reception
Contact: Washington Bach Consort, (202) 429-2121
For more information: click here

In The News …

DC, advocates at odds over homeless families; 900 people still in shelter (Washington Post): “This winter, the District’s shelter for homeless families at DC General Hospital is crammed full — 372 adults and nearly 600 children [...] City officials say that hard times and the lack of affordable housing in poor neighborhoods are to blame for the continuing crisis of family homelessnes.” Last year, the number of homeless families in the District jumped by 18 percent and advocates argue that DC “is not doing nearly enough to help the neediest residents find permanent housing at a time of budget surplus.” Learn more about Catalogue’s homelessness and housing nonprofits right here.

Class-Divided Cities: Washington, DC Edition (The Atlantic): “More than any other metro we’ve covered, greater Washington, DC is a creative class region [...] These are high-skilled, highly-educated, and high-paying positions where workers average $90,442 in wages and salaries, fourth highest in the nation [...] Still, the class divide in the region is pronounced. The creative class is concentrated in the center of the metro, as the map shows.” A map charting the geography of class in the region shows a concentration of the creative class to the west and service to the east, yet almost no clusters of working class residents, implying that “Greater Washington is a fully post-industrial region.” Explore the interactive maps right here.

Tech’s new entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy (USA Today): “The intersection of technology and philanthropy is creating “philanthrocapitalism,” borrowing ideas from venture capitalism to fund non-profits.” For example, “NFS , a model of Omidyars’ brand of philanthropy, is based loosely on a venture-capital firm’s approach. And it is quickly becoming a powerful agent for social change, as eBay was for commerce.” Says Suzanne DiBianca, the co-founder and president of the Salesforce.com Foundation, “Companies are beginning to understand their power in leveraging their assets to non-profits [...] It’s not just throwing a check over a wall.”

In The News …

By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator

20 DC schools targeted for closure (Washington Post) “One in six traditional DC public schools is targeted for closure under a plan put forth Tuesday by Chancellor Kaya Henderson, the latest sign of a system facing budget pressures and increased competition from fast-growing charter schools. The 20 schools marked for closure are spread across six city wards but are concentrated in Northeast Washington and east of the Anacostia River. The chancellor said her plan would shift resources from maintaining under-enrolled schools to focus on improving academic programs,” Find a list of all proposed public school changes here.

Partnership Leads to New Beginning for Homeless Veterans (Huffington Post: DC Impact) “Across the country, men and women who served in the armed forces are becoming homeless at a rate that is higher than the civilian population. Sadly, this is consistent with a history of overrepresentation of veterans in the homeless population. This year, Veteran’s Day marks a new beginning for many homeless veterans in the District who are benefiting from an innovative housing program and critical community partnerships. Our organizations — Pathways to Housing DC and Miriam’s Kitchen — are working together to identify chronically homeless veterans with mental illness and/or disabling medical conditions in the District who are eligible to move into their own apartments as part of a pilot project sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

Region leaders hoping for federal spending cuts compromise (Washington Examiner) “The region’s leaders say they’ve prepped their 2013 budgets for what will be hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue if federal spending cuts start in January. But they are also holding out hope those cuts — and the devastation they say it would bring to the region — never come. ‘It’s like Hurricane Sandy — there’s only so much you can do with powers beyond your control,’ said Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. at a Greater Washington Board of Trade panel discussion Thursday.” How is your organization preparing for possible cuts and sequestration?

From the Field: Miriam’s Kitchen

By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator

An early Saturday morning, in a church basement in Foggy Bottom, DC parents bring their children to learn about what it means to be homeless in Washington. Last Saturday, Miriam’s Kitchen hosted Coats and Coffee, an education and awareness event that offered kids the chance to do service around the “kitchen” while also learning about the clients that Miriam’s serves — in an age-appropriate way. Sherika Brooks and I stopped by to drop off our donations of coffee (Miriam’s goes through thousands of cups a week) and learn a bit more about the services they offer.

Miriam’s Kitchen is unique among nonprofits offering outreach services for those experiencing homelessness. As one of Miriam’s Kitchen’s case managers explained to us, Miriam’s operates first and foremost under the context of hospitality — welcoming clients with a smile and a nametag (whatever that name might be for the day), offering a cup of hot coffee, a freshly prepared meal, and then the option to learn about and access additional services if desired. Relationships are the focus == and meeting clients where they’re at is the method. Another unique aspect of Miriam’s Kitchen program is Miriam’s Studio, an art therapy program that helps to “build a strong community and relationships with their guests.” The products of this program cover the walls of the dining room at Miriam’s Kitchen — beautiful pieces of art that show the diversity of life experiences that Miriam’s guests bring into the space.

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Thinking Of You

Good morning, Greater Washington. We very much hope that you all stayed safe and well over the past couple days!

As we mentioned on the Catalogue main page: if you see someone, or know someone, who is homeless and in need of help, call the DC Shelter Hotline at 1-800-535-7252. (Thanks to our friends at Friendship Place for this good tip.)

And for information on needs and activities of our local Human Service non-profits, you can follow them on our Twitter list right here.

Homeless in Fairfax County

By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator

In Fairfax County, the very rich and the very poor live side by side. The Washington Post recently reported that the homeless student population in Fairfax County is on the verge of breaking 2,500 students — a record for the county, which is by some measures the second most affluent county in the US. Since 2005, the number of homeless students in Fairfax County has been on the rise — growing by 58% from 2005 to 2011. This trend echoes the observations made recently in Venture Philanthropy Partners’ Capital Kids report, which offers comprehensive data on the state of children and youth in the greater Washington area. (Read our review on the report here.)

Capital Kids focuses on “the poverty factor” as one of the four main issues involving children and youth in the National Capital Region: “The negative social, academic and health outcomes for children raised in poverty have been well documented. They include a greater incidence of chronic health conditions (such as asthma); mental disorders, including depression; and risky behaviors such as smoking, drugs, alcohol and early sexual activity. Childhood poverty is also associated with poor school attendance and decreased academic achievement, as well as behavioral problems such as delinquency.”

According to the Post, the recession and its after-effects have caused this explosion of homeless youth and students. Right now, more than 1 million students are experiencing homelessness across the country. Judith Dittman, executive director of Catalogue nonprofit Alternative House, was quoted in the Post, expressing her concern about this situation in Northern Virginia: “Nobody wants to see these kids sleeping on the street. No matter how bad the economy is, we don’t want to see 17-year-olds sleeping in the doorways at libraries.”

Working specifically with runaway, abused, and homeless youth, Alterative House “offers safe and accessible places where teens can get help” and has served thousands of youth over the past 40 years. Alternative House is one of many Catalogue nonprofits that serve the homeless population in Fairfax County. Here’s a brief look at several others, and you can find a complete list of nonprofits serving Fairfax County here.

= Doorways for Women and Families has worked for 30 years to break the intergenerational cycles of homelessness and domestic violence, providing a variety of support services to families who are working to move out of homelessness.

- For over three decades, Shelter House has provided a structured and supportive environment for homeless families in Fairfax County, through transitional housing programs, emergency shelters, and case management for newly-housed families.

- Main Street Child Development Center is one of the few nonprofit childcare centers in the area, ensuring that children from low-income households have the same educational start as their higher income peers.

- FACETS provides emergency services and supportive programs to prevent homelessness and assist those who are already homeless, working to ensure that every Fairfax family has a place to call home.