2020 Point-in-Time Count Released

Last week, the city announced the results of the 2020 Point in Time (PIT) Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness. The annual PIT report provides a one-night “snapshot” of the number of individuals and families staying either in shelter, temporary housing, or on the street in the DC region. Information collected informs city leaders, policymakers, and funders on emerging service needs and noticeable gaps in supportive services, and offers a guide for future program planning. This year’s count conducted on January 22, 2020, welcomed more than 300 volunteers who provided supportincluding a team lead by Everyone Home DC. It should be noted that the final report does not reflect the challenges of people experiencing homelessness due to the impact of the pandemic caused by coronavirus.

“As our city continues to face a public health crisis, it is clearer than ever that housing is health care. We must prioritize ensuring every person in the District has the right to a safe, affordable, and comfortable home,” Karen Cunningham, Everyone Home DC Executive Director, reflected after reviewing the full report. “We appreciate seeing that family homelessness continues to decreasethis year by 5.8 percentand that the number of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness* decreased by 2.7 percent since last year. These results do reflect the impact of the District’s prioritization of individuals and families living in the most vulnerable of living situations.”

The PIT report notes homelessness prevention programs and permanent housing solutions are key drivers in reducing homelessness. At Everyone Home DC, we are proud of our contribution to this trend:

  • Everyone Home DC is one of four organizations selected to run a family homelessness prevention program to help families avoid a shelter stay, when possible, by stabilizing their housing in the community. In 2019, 91 percent of the families working with Everyone Home DC’s homelessness prevention program were able to avoid a shelter stay.
  • One hundred four families achieved and maintained housing stability through Everyone Home DC’s Rapid Rehousing, Permanent Supportive Housing, and ADA Accessible Shelter Units.
  • Everyone Home DC helped ten chronically homeless individuals move into their own homes through our Street Outreach Program.

And yet, the demographics of this year’s report are consistent with past years’ and highlight that ending homelessness cannot happen without actively addressing racial inequity. Black people living in Washington, DC, are disproportionately impacted by homelessness, making up 86.4 percent of the homeless population, while representing only 46.6 percent of our city’s population. We must collectively acknowledge that this is no accident and is the result of historical and continued racism in our countryfrom slavery and violent land theft to housing discrimination that exists even today. Black people are more likely to experience poverty and other social inequalities that place people at risk of homelessness, ranging from interactions with the child welfare and criminal legal systems to lack of access to affordable housing, employment, and health care.

“Everyone Home DC knows that the systems, programs, and individuals that exist to serve people experiencing homelessness must continue to intentionally address the myriad of injustices that have resulted from systemic racism and racial inequity,” Karen Cunningham observes. “We are committed to addressing the disparities in the way services across our city are provided, and our city must adequately fund programs to ensure all Black people in our city have what they most need to thrive.”

There is more we must do to ensure no individual experiences the trauma of homelessness. There is a critical need for an increased supply of affordable housing, more significant support for the delivery of wrap-around services, and dedicated efforts to decrease the disparity between income and housing costs in the District. To accomplish this, we call for the DC Council to act with urgency and fully fund the asks of The Way Home Campaign so more individuals can move from our city’s streets and shelters into safe, affordable, and comfortable homes.

Continue learning about and reviewing the data collected from the 2020 Point in Time (PIT) Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness:

*People who are chronically homeless have experienced homelessness for at least a yearor repeatedlywhile struggling with a disabling condition such as a serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability. 

 

Planning for Back to School During Uncertain Times

Support Everyone Home DC’s 2020/21 Back to School Initiative to Distribute 300 $50 Gift Cards to Rising Scholars

As the school year comes to a close, we can all agree; this past year has been anything but ordinary. Schools closed, and Everyone Home DC scholars spent the final months of the school year distance learning. We don’t have a clear picture as to what next school year will look like, although we do know that the families we work with will need support, now more than ever, to ensure they have the necessary resources to succeed in the upcoming school year. Every year around this time, we start our backpack and school supplies drive. This year, we are doing the same and getting creative to ensure we offer our families flexible support while also limiting traffic to our drop-in day center and headquarters to encourage continued social distancing. 

Everyone Home DC is shifting this year’s model to collect $50 gift cards (Visa, Mastercard, Target, Walmart, and Amazon) as well as monetary donations. The DCPS school year is scheduled to begin on August 31, 2020. Everyone Home DC programs will distribute the gift cards to the families we work with in August. 

This year’s goal is to distribute a gift card to each Everyone Home DC scholar, which means we need 300 $50 gift cards. We need YOUR help to reach our goal. Consider running a drive to collect gift cards at your work, place of worship, book club, OR you can sponsor a child or two individually. Every little bit helps. Below is more information on how to get started and how to get the gift cards to Everyone Home DC. Thank you for assisting Everyone Home DC to support the nearly 300 rising scholars who work with our program! 

GETTING STARTED

We would love to hear from you if you plan to run a drive or collection, so we can plan (and budget) appropriately. Contact Kate Akalonu at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org to discuss what our needs are if there are certain types of cards to focus on and share how many you plan to contribute. We can also provide any brainstorming support to get the word out to your community if you are running a drive.

Everyone Home DC families expressed most appreciating Visa, Mastercard, Target, Walmart, and Amazon gift cards. 

You can also make a monetary donation that can be used to purchase gift cards by program staff and sent electronically to families. Consider making a donation in $50 increments today!

GETTING CARDS TO EVERYONE HOME DC

  • If purchasing gift cards at a store or online, you are welcome to mail them to Everyone Home DC’s main headquarters address. Please contact Kate at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org if you have any questions or to coordinate a drop off.Mail Gift Cards to:
    Everyone Home DC Development Office
    415 2nd Street NE, 3rd Floor
    Washington DC 20002

    Please note: For the health and safety of our guests at Shirley’s Place, we will not be accepting gift card drop offs at our drop-in day center (which has historically been the location for drop offs in the past.) Thank you for understanding.
  • You are also welcome to skip the process of purchasing cards and make a donation on our Back to School Collection donation page. Program staff will then purchase gift cards and send electronically them to families. Consider making a donation in $50 increments today

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Kate Akalonu at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org. We are on standby to provide support in the same way that you are always on standby to provide support for our most urgent needs. Thank you!

 

Homelessness & Racial Inequity

Ending homelessness cannot happen without addressing racial inequity. In the United States, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by homelessness, making up 40 percent of the homeless population, while representing only 13 percent of the population. Black people are five times more likely to experience homelessness than white people. In Washington, DC, Black or African American make up 86.4 percent of the homeless population, while representing only 46.6 percent of our city’s population. AND, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, this imbalance is not improving over time.

The overrepresentation of Black Americans in the homeless population is no accident. It is the result of historical and continued racism–from slavery and violent land theft to housing discrimination that exists even today. Black people are more likely to experience poverty and other social gaps that place people at risk of homelessness, ranging from interactions with the child welfare and criminal legal systems to lack of access to affordable housing, employment and health care, and the longstanding impacts from the practice of redlining, which prohibited black people from accruing land and wealth. Black people are also more likely to experience bias within the very systems and data algorithms designed to support them.

Everyone Home DC knows that the systems, programs, and individuals that exist to serve people experiencing homelessness must continue to intentionally address the myriad of injustices that have resulted from systemic racism and racial inequity. We are committed to addressing the disparities that exist in the way services across our city are provided, and our city must adequately fund programs to ensure all Black people have access to safe, affordable, and comfortable homes in the District.

To continue learning, we recommend checking out the resources available about racial inequality available on the National Alliance to End Homelessness website

 

A Note From Our Executive Director

The last few weeks have been infuriating and heartbreaking. The horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are a shocking and painful reminder that our country was built on white supremacy and continues to perpetuate the dehumanization and oppression of Black people. The call from Amy Cooper to police exposed a white woman consciously using her privilege to threaten the life of a black man and forced us to confront just how easily white privilege is regularly weaponized against people of color.  And all of this is set against the backdrop of an ongoing global pandemic where the disproportionate impact on Black and Brown communities highlights stark disparities in economic status, housing, and healthcare resulting from and reinforced by systemic racism.

It all feels like too muchAnd yet, in this moment of extreme crisis, we must find hope in the opportunity to create a more just and antiracist society rooted in the wisdom that all lives cannot matter until Black Lives Matter

To our Black friends and neighbors, our thoughts are with you. We stand with you and commit to dismantling systems designed to uphold violence, injustice, and inequities. We hope you find space in the days and weeks ahead to care for yourself and your families. We are here to listen and to support. 

To our white friends and neighbors, we have so much work to do. We must consistently and actively work to create a just and equitable society that works for all people. We must be committed to dismantling power structures that uphold white supremacy. We are responsible for what happens next. Let’s put in the work it takes to become truly antiracist and urge all white people to do the same. To learn about how you can contribute to dismantling systemic racism, consider reading Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to be Antiracist” or work through Layla Saad’s “Me and White Supremacy Workbook.”

We are committed to continuing to do the work here at Everyone Home DC, and we know we cannot do it without you. Thank you for joining us on the challenging path ahead. If you want to talk about antiracism in the context of our work or yours, remember that we are just a phone call or email away.

 

Peace and love today and always,

Karen Cunningham
Executive Director

Gmail Users: Don’t Miss Your Everyone Home DC Emails

It’s hard to believe that Gmail introduced its tabs system seven years ago. While it has been helpful in the organization of your inbox, it can sometimes mean you miss important messages from your favorite senders…like Everyone Home DC! There are a few simple things you can do to ensure your Everyone Home DC emails make it into the tab of your preference, increasing your chances of viewing. Below are a few tips to support the functionality of your inbox, as well as ways you can help the success of Everyone Home DC’s email campaigns.

First. Do you want to receive emails from Everyone Home DC? If you search your inbox using the keywords “Everyone Home DC” and find that you aren’t receiving emails, sign up to receive emails from Everyone Home DC on our website. If you have any issues or questions, email Director of Strategic Initiatives, Kate, at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org.

Second. Once you are sure you have signed up for emails, add akalonu@everyonehomedc.org and cunningham@everyonehomedc.org to your Gmail whitelist. Click here to read more. This will help get the emails into your primary tab, although you might have to do an additional step.

Third. If you find your Everyone Home DC emails are going into a tab you don’t check as often (promotions, social, updates) you can drag the email out of the tab and drop it in the primary tab (or tab of your choice.) A conversation box will pop-up asking if you want to do this for future messages from Everyone Home DC, and you can select “yes.” That’s it! You should receive emails from Everyone Home DC. You can read more about this process via Google Support or this thread on Gmail Help.

Now. You are successfully seeing Everyone Home DC emails in your inbox. That’s great! Here are some other ways you can support Everyone Home DC’s e-communications efforts.

  • Everyone Home DC strives to maintain a healthy email reputation. No one wants to be on the dreaded blacklist! This means we want to be sending emails to people who want to hear from us. One of the easiest ways you can support Everyone Home DC’s email reputation is to open emails from Everyone Home DC and click on at least ONE (1) link in the email. This communicates to your email provider that you enjoy hearing from Everyone Home DC and trust our content, which ultimately improves our reputation.
  • If you find that you don’t have the time to engage with Everyone Home DC emails, we completely understand if you prefer to unsubscribe. In fact, your unsubscribe can help our reputation. Feel free to use the unsubscribe button that is in the email or email Kate at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org for support. There are many other ways to engage with Everyone Home DC’s content like bookmarking our News and Updates page or following Everyone Home DC on your favorite social. You can find us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Thank you all for your support! If there is any content you would like to see from Everyone Home DC, please let us know by email Kate at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org to share your thoughts and preferences.

Partnership During a Pandemic

If there is one thing that we have been continuously reminded of during these unprecedented times is that superheroes are very real, and they live among us. Today, we are highlighting one of those superheroes–Capitol Hill Community Foundation

Capitol Hill residents and businesses joined together 30 years ago to build a community foundation that directly supports neighborhood schools and organizations through seasonal and emergency grants. Everyone Home DC has benefited from our Community Foundation’s generosity and commitment to ending homelessness in our city over its many years of existence.

As life in our city quickly shifted in response to the novel coronavirus, so did the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, announcing emergency grants for Capitol Hill organizations helping to mitigate the effects of the pandemic in our community. We were honored (and felt great relief) to learn that Everyone Home DC would receive $15,000 to support our COVID-19 response efforts.

Mark Weinheimer, Secretary of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, recently shared:

“The Foundation believes that the whole community is in this pandemic situation together. While many of us can cope in our homes, others cannot. Everyone Home DC is doing so much to help that portion of our population, and we wanted to enable them to extend that help even more.” 

Everyone Home DC put the Capitol Hill Community Foundation funds right to work. The emergency grant will support critical efforts to build and sustain our stock of personal protective equipment for staff and clients. It will also support the weekly distribution of essential item kits by our Street Outreach team during health and wellness check-ins with people sleeping outside who have limited access to laundry and shower services. The kits include undergarments, body wipes, hand sanitizer, water, snacks, and a mask.

Karen Cunningham, Everyone Home DC Executive Director, reflects:

The Foundation’s pandemic response grant could not have come at a better time. In the days just before Mark called to tell me about the award, I had just completed a budget re-write, revising down all our revenue projections for the year and cutting all non-essential expenses even while knowing our clients’ needs would be at an all-time high. When Mark told me the Foundation was giving us $15,000, I was overcome with gratitude.” 

And all of this follows on the heels of learning Everyone Home DC was selected to receive the Capitol Hill Community Foundation’s 2020 Arnold F. Keller, Jr. Grant, which comes with the Foundation’s largest monetary annual gift of $20,000. At the start of the year, we were looking forward to celebrating this milestone moment at the Capitol Hill Community Achievement Awards at the end of April. Unfortunately social distancing forced the annual Dinner to cancel, although we were excited to learn that we will celebrate this honor officially with ALL the Honorees at the 2021 Dinner. Be on the lookout for another blog post in the future, sharing more about this honor and the grant’s namesake, Arnold F. Keller.

Learn more about the Foundation and ways to get involved by visiting their website CapitolHillCommunityFoundation.org

#GivingTuesdayNow is Tuesday, May 5

Today is #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving in response to the unprecedented need caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. People all around the world are coming together to tap into the power of human connection and encourage collective giving, unity, and healing. We hope that you will support Everyone Home DC’s COVID-19 response efforts on this day of giving!

Your donation today will help the individuals and families we work with each day as our country responds to this pandemic. Everyone Home DC is dedicated to reimagining how we provide supportive services as well as timely and critical resources to individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness in our city. 

Your #GivingTuesdayNow support ensures Everyone Home DC can respond quickly and efficiently today and in the months ahead. Now is the time to be there for individuals and families in our city most impacted by gaps in our social safety net.

Thank you for standing with Everyone Home DC on #GivingTuesdayNow and always.

Your 2019 Annual Report

It has been a year! Well, 373 days to be exact, since we officially became Everyone Home DC. And, one year since we gathered at the Hill Center to unveil the new name and brand at our inaugural Spring Social. 

You have so warmly embraced our new name, making it clear that Everyone Home DC effectively communicates our mission and reflects our diverse community. And, most importantly, it aligns with our shared values of the District of Columbia as a thriving and diverse community, where all people can obtain and remain in safe, affordable, and comfortable homes. 

With all that said, I am pleased to present—on behalf of our Board of Directors, staff, and clients—your 2019 Everyone Home DC Annual Report. Within these pages, we celebrate all that you made possible in 2019.

As the 2019 Annual Report was nearing completion and sent off to the printer, the promising start of 2020 quickly shifted to uncertainty and the inevitability that a new normal lies ahead due to the current pandemic. Events like our Annual Spring Social, where we planned to celebrate this past year and distribute this report for the first time, have been canceled. When we look back at this report, highlighting our successes and knowing the challenges, 2019 feels like a simpler time. But the one thing that is forever constant is your continued support. Thank you for standing with us during this past historic year, today, and in the delicate months ahead.

If you aren’t able to see Everyone Home DC’s 2019 Annual Report below, click this link to view in a new tab.

EHDC Annual Report 2019 - WEB

Support Local During COVID-19

Without question the food and beverage industries have been strong allies to nonprofits over the decadesdonating their time, talent, and delicious resources—in support of a variety of critical causes and missions both locally in our city and all across our United States.  In response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, many of these businesses have been forced to shutter their doors to ensure staff and guests remain safe. Many restaurants that close now may never re-open.

At Everyone Home DC, our signature fundraising event, Sip and Savor, relies on food and beverage professionals who donate their time AND unlimited tastings to support ending homelessness in our city. Of course, our event, like so many others, is up in the air as we check in with our partners who are instrumental in the evening’s success as well as closely monitoring public health guidance to ensure the plans for our clients, staff, and supporters we put in place are appropriate.

During this time of transition, we want to ensure we are supporting our culinary and beverage community. Here are a few ways you can join us! We are sharing a list of Sip and Savor Unlimited Tastings Partners below, if you want to support our partners specifically. 

  • Order delivery, takeout, or make an advanced purchase. We love the resources available from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington that shares who is providing take-out and delivery services.
  • Purchase gift cards, merchandise, & contribute to family relief funds.Support your favorite restaurants, breweries, cideries, distilleries, and wineries through unique opportunities that they share out on their website or social media pages. This Support DC Businesses website allows you to search by food, bar/alcohol, and beyond to see where you can be of support!
  • Contribute to funds established for individuals working in these industries. VinePair has a running list of funds and organizations that are supporting laid-off hospitality workers.

    Advocate!
  • Contact your representatives and remind them that our restaurant and hospitality industry needs the support of our government to survive. Check out resources from National Restaurant Association to get more involved.
  • Distilleries making hand sanitizer are still being charged federal excise tax if the alcohol they’re using is not denatured. Contact your representatives (it takes 30 seconds) to urge them to waive this tax.

Are we missing anything? Let us know! We would be happy to add it to this post.

 

CARES Act & Giving

On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act, was signed into law and made changes to encourage charitable giving to nonprofits. This bill includes a new above-the-line deduction for non-itemizers and modified certain limitations on the income tax charitable deduction to encourage donors to give in 2020. This targeted relief recognizes the important role charities play during the pandemic and provides additional tax benefits for taxpayers supporting charities.

In case you are interested in learning more:

  • New $300 Deduction for Qualified Charitable Donations 
    Individuals who take the standard deduction can claim an above-the-line tax deduction for cash donations to qualified charitable organizations, up to $300. It remains uncertain whether Congress intends to allow this new charitable deduction for non-itemizers in future years, or if this is a one-time incentive as part of the COVID-19 disaster response.
  • 60% of Adjusted Gross Income Limit Suspended for 2020
    For the 2020 tax year, individuals can deduct any cash contributions made to qualified charitable organizations, up to 100% of their adjusted gross income (AGI). Deductions for cash donations were previously limited to 60% of the taxpayer’s AGI.
  • Corporations’ 10% Limit Increased to 25% for 2020
    For the 2020 tax year, corporations can deduct up to 25% of the taxpayer’s taxable income for any cash contributions made to qualified charitable organizations. Deductions for cash donations were previously limited to 10% of the taxpayer’s taxable income.
  • Exclusions
    Charitable contributions carried over from a prior tax year (before 2020) are excluded from this temporary relief and are subject to previous limitations in the tax code. And charitable contributions to private non-operating foundations, supporting organizations and sponsoring organizations to fund donor advised funds do not qualify for the modified percentage limitations for 2020.

Gifts to Everyone Home DC COVID-19 Response Efforts
You can also support Everyone Home DC with a qualified charitable distribution from your IRA, if you are age 70.5 or older. Deduction limitations for charitable gifts to donor-advised funds, private non-operating foundations, and supporting organizations were not changed under the CARES Act.

Questions?
If you have any questions or want to discuss the best way to support, please contact Kate Akalonu, Director of Strategic Initiatives at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org. You can also visit our “Make-a-Gift” page to learn more.