In 1997, a group of experienced volunteers saw a profound gap in supportive housing for the most vulnerable women in our city. They imagined facilities and programs that would offer low-barrier access to women who lived on the streets or in emergency shelters and struggled with acute medical problems, substance abuse, or mental illness (and sometimes all three). The approach, Housing First, meant that even those facing the most serious challenges could access support and achieve housing stability. At two independent sites and at scattered sites where units are housed in traditional apartment buildings, OAH provides quality living spaces along with crisis intervention, supportive counseling, financial management, assistance with public benefits, and referrals. The result? 94% of the women it has served do not return to homelessness. The mission now includes families. The bigger goal? The eradication of chronic homelessness for women and families in Washington, DC.

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 (FY2023)

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

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

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