Some 800 single women are among the District’s chronically homeless. Many live on the edge, with physical, medical, and mental disabilities, so traditional housing programs – with rules requiring participation in social services – can be a significant challenge. Open Arms uses the “housing first” model, providing safe and comfortable places to live, and then supportive services as an option. Twenty efficiency apartments provide a sense of security and community for women living together, and case management is available to 63 women living in scattered, coed sites across the city. Signing a lease, paying rent, and maintaining the property are accomplishments that generate a sense of pride. As a result, 65% of residents voluntarily opt-in to Open Arms' mental health and substance abuse services. You can provide housing for those who have none, and foster independence and hope in this community.

COVID-19 Update: With the shift to a mobile case management model and the purchase of cell phones for most of their clients, Open Arms has been able to keep in contact with its clients and assist with regular wellness checks during this difficult time.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 5

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 5; Main office located in the NOMA Neighborhood near North Capitol St NW Washington, DC. Our other site is in the Trinidad neighborhood of Ward 5.

Age Groups Served: Adult (25-49); Seniors (50+)

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Caucasian; Other

Population(s) Served: Individuals with Disabilities; Women/Girls; Disabled; Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members

  • Individuals housed (temporary shelters, transitional housing, permanent housing) annually:  
    Within the 5 years, OAH have housed 25 residents
  • Years of homelessness prevented:   80 years
  • Housing stability:  
    95% of residents remained housed and did not return to homelessness

Awards & Recognition

First single site project for homeless women using the housing first approach in D.C. 9/2009
First program to receive Dept. of Behavioral Health grant funds for Permanent Supportive Housing
Featured in Street Sense 2015
Featured in Enterprise Community Partners publication 2015
Featured in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration publication as a model project for housing, 4/2013
Publication of Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development 2012
Featured in the Washington Post, June 2009, November 2011
Publication of Local Initiative Support Corporation 2009
Publication of Home Builders Care Foundation 2009
Publication of Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development 2012


  • Women in D.C. housing-first units concentrate on their futures
    Sun Nov 15 2015, Washington Post  
    For the first time in her tumultuous 22 years, Kortney Parkey has an apartment of her own.

Budget (FY2013)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • The current budget for Open Arms Housing is: Less than $500k

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