For the last 37 years, Miriam’s Kitchen has served a nutritious breakfast to men and women in the District who are chronically homeless, feeding more than 4,000 people each year. Today, it offers "more than a meal": Miriam's is a leading advocate for a more effective and efficient homeless services system. In the dining room, where dinner is now served, case managers work one-on-one to meet guests' needs – providing them with clothing and toiletries, connecting them to critical social services, and helping them find jobs and housing. Other community organizations bring their services (healthcare, legal support, HIV testing) on site to further streamline support. But a stable home for all is the ultimate goal, so Miriam’s offers wrap-around care to 217 formerly homeless individuals who now live in Permanent Supportive Housing, helping them integrate into the community and remain safely housed. Ending chronic and veteran homelessness is possible.
Early decisions to cancel volunteer shifts, serve meals in to-go containers, and install tents, portable bathrooms, and sinks meant that Miriam’s could continue to serve its guests in person while minimizing risk for staff. The Street Outreach Team helped identify medically vulnerable homeless individuals and those experiencing symptoms so that they could be placed into safe housing or isolated. While many providers closed in mid-March, Miriam's was one of three serving meals in person and continuing to help guests experiencing homelessness.