Nominate Everyone Home DC for Washington City Paper’s Best Nonprofit

It is that time of the year…Best of DC is here and this year the process looks a little bit different. This year, Washington City Paper will start the voting process with an Open Nominations phase, where readers can write in their top choice. This phase will go until 8/1 @ 10:59 pm Central. Then, in the next phase is the Finalist Vote where readers can select their top choice from the finalists. Voting in the final stage will begin on 8/18 @ 11:01 pm Central. As Washington City Paper says on its website, “The new process will give local organizations and businesses more opportunities to rock the vote and be selected for the final ballot, and it’ll make it easier for readers to cast their ballots.

Take a couple of minutes (if that) and nominate Everyone Home DC Washington City Paper’s Best Nonprofit in the “People and Places” category. Here is what you need to do: click this link to get to the People and Places online ballot. Scroll down the alphabetical list stopping first at “Best Nonprofit” and type Everyone Home DC in the vote box, then enter your email address, and select nominate. That’s it!

Last year, Everyone Home DC landed in THIRD PLACE in the Best Nonprofit category and we are hoping to see a similar (or better!) performance this year!

Each year, Washington City Paper gives its readers a list of categories and asks YOU to name the very best of everything in DC. At Everyone Home DC, we believe our long-time work of and leadership in creating a thriving and diverse city where all people can obtain and remain in safe, affordable, and comfortable homes makes Everyone Home DC an obvious “Best Nonprofit” choice. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Back-to-School at Everyone Home DC

Support Everyone Home DC’s 2021/22 Back to School Initiative to Distribute 200 $50 Gift Cards to Rising Scholars

It is hard to believe but the 2021/22 school year is right around the corner! Each year we begin planning around this time so that when our families start to think about the new school year, Everyone Home DC is ready to provide support with any back-to-school needs. 

Last year, Everyone Home DC shifted its back-to-school approach to ensure we provided families with flexible monetary support by providing families with gift cards. This new approach was met with gratitude and appreciation from our families, who appreciated the efficiency of the process and the ability to go back-to-school shopping as a family. And, we welcomed even more friends and supporters into the Everyone Home DC family. 

For the 2021/2022 school year, we will once again be collecting funds to distribute gift cards to our families to help with back-to-school shopping. Everyone Home DC’s goal is to distribute a $50 gift card to each Everyone Home DC scholar, which means this year we need 200 $50 gift cards. AND, we need YOUR help to reach our goal. 

Please consider hosting a drive to collect gift cards (Visa, Mastercard, Target, Walmart, and Amazon) at your work, place of worship, or with your favorite people. You can also sponsor a scholar or two individually, OR you can support our efforts by sharing the need with your friends and family by sending a quick email or posting on your favorite social media platform. If you want to create a fundraising page to share with your friends, we can help you with that too! Every little bit helps. Below is more information on how to get started and how to get the gift cards or cash gifts to Everyone Home DC. 

Everyone Home DC plans to begin distributing gift cards to families by mid-August.

GETTING STARTED

  • We want to hear from you if you plan to run a drive or collection! This will support Everyone Home DC’s planning (and budgeting) efforts. Contact Kate Akalonu at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org to discuss what types of gift cards to focus on collecting and to share how many gift cards 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.
  • You can also make a monetary donation that will be used to purchase gift cards by program staff and sent electronically to families. Please note, families have openly expressed how much they appreciate the convenience of receiving gift cards electronically.  Consider making a donation in $50 increments (or any amount) today!
  • Everyone Home DC families expressed most appreciating Visa, Mastercard, Target, Walmart, and Amazon gift cards.

GETTING CARDS TO EVERYONE HOME DC

  • You are 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 them electronically to families. Consider making a donation in $50 increments (or any amount) today!
  • If purchasing gift cards at a store or online, you are welcome to mail them directly to Everyone Home DC’s main headquarters address. Please contact Kate at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org if you have any questions or to discuss dropping the gift cards off.

Mail Gift Cards to:

Everyone Home DC
Attn: Back-to-School

415 2nd Street NE, 3rd Floor

Washington DC 20002

Please note: For our guests’ health and safety 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.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out! Thank you for standing with Everyone Home DC now and always. We are so glad you are here.

 

DC Summers are Hot. Here is How You can Help.

It isn’t even Memorial Day, and we are already experiencing temperatures well into the 90’s here in DC. Everyone Home DC’s Street Outreach Team and Day Center, Shirley’s Place, have kicked into high gear to support our neighbors living outside in vulnerable situations. We often think of winter as the most dangerous time for people experiencing homelessness, AND the summer months can also be deadly for those who live outside.

Every year, the District creates a Heat Emergency Plan to help keep everyone in our city safe during the hottest summer days. When the temperature or heat index reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the city activates a Heat Emergency, which triggers the opening of cooling centers. In addition, shelter transport vans will circulate to conduct safety checks, distribute water, and provide transportation to the cooling centers. 

Want to help? Here are a few ways to support our neighbors experiencing homelessness during the summer heat:

  • Support Everyone Home DC by purchasing items off of our Amazon Wish List
  • Be aware of signs and symptoms of heat-related illness like goosebumps, dizziness, heavy sweating, vomiting, faintness, loss of consciousness, or inappropriate dress for hot weather.
  • When in doubt, call 911. If you are concerned that a person is experiencing symptoms of heatstroke (e.g., loss of consciousness, lack of sweat), call 911 and take direction from the dispatcher. 
  • Save the number to the Shelter Hotline (202-320-7702) in your phone and call and ask for a safety check if you are concerned about someone on the street. 
  • Purchase a bottle of water or a sports drink for a person experiencing homelessness. Staying hydrated helps prevent heat-related illness. 
  • Sign up to receive alerts from AlertDC, so you know when a Heat Emergency is activated. 

Please share this information with your friends, family, colleagues, and social networks as an easy way to make a difference in the lives of individuals who find themselves in highly vulnerable situations. Thank you!

Staff Spotlight: Jessie Henry

Everyone Home DC is excited to introduce you to Jessie Henry! Jessie has been working as a Street Outreach Coordinator at Everyone Home DC for more than 2 years. Everyone Home DC’s Street Outreach team works with chronically homeless individuals living in Capitol Hill. Jessie and her team use a person-centered approach to build and maintain relationships with our chronically homeless neighbors and supports them in meeting their immediate needs and achieving their long-term goals, which include obtaining stable housing. Jessie grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia, and has lived in DC for the last seven years. Prior to joining the Everyone Home DC team, Jessie worked at a homeless services organization called Friendship Place as a Rapid Rehousing Case manager. Recently, Jessie completed a three-and-a-half-year part-time Social Work program at The Catholic University of America and plans to get her clinical license after getting her graduate license. Jessie spends most of her free time with her husband and attempting to keep their 16-month-old son, who enjoys climbing on dangerous objects, alive. She also enjoys refinishing furniture and traveling anywhere and everywhere. Jessie recently shared a bit about herself and her experience at Everyone Home DC.

Describe working at Everyone Home DC in three words or less.
JH: Supportive, engaging, motivating.  

What keeps you motivated to come to work every day?
JH: My clients keep me motivated to come to work every day. My clients constantly teach me what it means to be resilient. They have embraced me into their community and make me want to work towards lasting systemic change. 

What do you wish other people knew about Everyone Home DC?
JH: We are dedicated to advocacy and believe this is the most vital part of seeing oppressive systems changed. We are always looking for people to join us as we advocate for more PSH vouchers along with more affordable housing. 

What do you wish other people knew about people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing homelessness?
JH: We are all humans and deserve dignity. Just because someone doesn’t have a doorknob to turn doesn’t mean they deserve anything less than respect and dignity. 

What’s your favorite activity to do in your free time?
JH: Anything and everything on the water. I grew up wakeboarding and waterskiing. Although I am a bit rusty these days I still try to get on the water any chance I can. 

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
JH: HA! Resist the trend to wax your entire eyebrow off. It will never grow back the same. – kidding. I would likely tell myself to breathe and give myself grace. Life is challenging and unpredictable for us all but we can get through it by leaning on one another and giving a whole lot of grace to everyone. 

What is one of the first things you would like to do post-pandemic?
JH: Hug my friends and family. I would love to have a group of friends over for dinner or go to a restaurant and laugh for hours. 

Your 2020 Annual Report

Everyone Home DC is pleased to present—on behalf of our Board of Directors, staff, and clients—your 2020 Everyone Home DC Annual Report

2020 introduced new situations never before experienced in Everyone Home DC’s 50 years of existence. Within these pages, we celebrate all that you made possible. Thanks to you, Everyone Home DC was ready and available to support the many individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness who needed us more than ever as the pandemic threatened their health and what little income they had.

As we look forward, Everyone Home DC recognizes that we must not only continue to meet the immediate needs of those who are struggling but also do very intentional work to dismantle the systemic and institutional racism that perpetuates a myriad of injustices, including homelessness and disinvestment in communities of color.  We are committed to continuing to do this work here at Everyone Home DC, and we know we cannot do it without you. 

Thank you for standing with us during this historic time.

Today, we should all feel a collective sense of pride for what we have accomplished together and re-energized to continue fighting for a city where no one lives or dies without the dignity and security of a safe home. 

Our sincere thanks for your continued confidence and support. We are so glad you are here!

If you aren’t able to see Everyone Home DC’s 2020 Annual Report below, click this link to view it in a new tab.

Annual-Report-2020-Everyone-Home-DC

What We Are Reading & Listening To

Check out some of the articles, podcasts, and books that Everyone Home DC has been reading over the last few weeks! Please shoot us an email at info@everyonehomedc.org and share with us what you are reading; we would love to know!

Angela Hill Lived Under The I-295 Overpass For Years. Now, Neighbors And Family Mourn Her | WAMU | Feb 22, 2021

Revenue: Advance Policies that Support an Equitable Pandemic Recovery | DC Fiscal Policy Institute | Mar 1, 2021

Covid Impacted Washington DC Neighborhood, Black History is Reinterpreted | Smithsonian Magazine | Feb 26, 2021

Progressive Lawmakers Are Considering Raising Taxes On The Rich. Should They? | DCist | Mar 2, 2021

Opinion: There can be no racial equity in D.C. when Black and Brown families are being displaced | Washington Post | Mar 5, 2021

‘Right now is not my time’: How Covid dimmed college prospects for students who need help most | The Hechinger Report | Mar 4, 2021

A city gave people $500 a month, no strings attached, to fight poverty. It paid off, study says. | Washington Post | Mar 4, 2021

Beckert’s Park Partners with Everyone Home DC

Beckert’s Park, an apartment complex owned and managed by Foulger-Pratt, announces today its partnership with local nonprofit Everyone Home DC. During the month of March, the ‘One for One’ campaign provides new residents of the Capitol Hill apartment building a $250 gift card to the building’s on-site Safeway. In addition, for each new move-in, a matching $250 Safeway gift card will be donated to Everyone Home DC. The donation will go directly to helping those most in need across the District of Columbia. 

“We deeply admire the work that Everyone Home DC is doing and we are thrilled to partner with them,” says Alison Punsalan, Senior Vice President, Foulger-Pratt. “The past year caused the nation’s capital and the world to adjust in ways we never expected. Beckert’s Park wants to pay it forward and continue to support our community especially those experiencing homelessness and food shortages.” 

Everyone Home DC is a nonprofit organization that supports individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness in the District. Foulger-Pratt, through Beckert’s Park, has supported the local community by partnering with groups like ThinkLocalFirst DC, Washington DC Economic Partnership, School Within School, Washington Project for the Arts, and Capitol Hill Cluster School.

As a local DC developer, Foulger-Pratt approaches every development project with community impact at the forefront, and Beckert’s Park has been no different. The project focus has always been on how to directly help the hyperlocal community. A complete overhaul of the neighborhood Safeway grocery store was undertaken during the building renovations and updated retail spaces line E Street and Carry’s Way SE. Named after George Beckert who originally settled in the neighborhood in 1844, Beckert’s Park has a storied history and evolution including the Beckert family home, a brewery, an ice cream shop, and now a Safeway and apartment building. 

The ‘One for One’ campaign will be in effect while funds last. For additional information on Beckert’s Park, visit https://www.beckertspark.com.

Staff Spotlight: Lakea Deans

Everyone Home DC is excited to introduce you to Lakea Deans! Lakea started working at Everyone Home DC at the beginning of 2018 and is currently the Assistant Program Manager of Family Homelessness Prevention. Everyone Home DC’s Family Homelessness Prevention is a 90-day program offering services for families at risk of becoming homeless through mediation, flexible financial assistance, and connecting them to supportive resources, with the goal of stabilizing their housing. Lakea’s first experience with Everyone Home DC  was as a Prevention Specialist, then growing into the Prevention Program Coordinator, followed by the role she is in today. Before joining the Everyone Home DC’s team, Lakea worked at the Office of Unified Communications (DC 911) in the IT department. Lakea graduated from  North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a BA in Psychology and LaKea is on track to graduate this year from Regent University with a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. Lakea recently shared a bit about herself and her experience at Everyone Home DC.

What inspired you to work at Everyone Home DC?
LD: In addition to supporting the mission and vision of the organization, my love for helping others is what inspired me to work here at Everyone Home DC.  I believe we were created to be vessels and to show grace to others, this work reminds me that I am walking in my purpose. I truly enjoy working for Everyone Home DC.

What story about an individual or family who has worked with Everyone Home DC has stuck with you most?
LD: Working with Ms. G will always and forever be a case I will never forget. Whenever I am having a challenging day, I still think about Ms. G, and she motivates me to continue to do great work. Ms. G was one of my first clients I worked with who had multiple barriers. This made it challenging to find stable housing for her and her teenage daughter. I built a great rapport with her daughter. While working together, Ms. G enrolled herself into a treatment program, found an income-based housing program, and successfully moved into her own apartment. I worked with the landlord and her benefits provider to have her rent payments deducted automatically to ensure Ms. G paid her monthly rent on time. To this day, Ms. G actively checks in with me to provide updates. She has recently celebrated three years of sobriety,  her daughter graduated high school, and Ms. G is still stable in her apartment. Ms. G’s success lets me know that I am doing great work and I am right where I need to be.

What do you enjoy most about the culture of Everyone Home DC?
LD: I enjoy the constant support. We do great work but sometimes it can be challenging and the organization is always there to provide additional support and they care about our well-being. 

On a Sunday morning, you will find me…
LD: On a Sunday morning you will find me on my couch sipping tea, streaming church and than watching some good football. 

If you could meet anyone who would you meet and why?
LD: If I could meet anyone, I would want to meet Beyonce, lol just kidding,  I would love to meet Michelle Obama. She is graceful,  inspirational, and fearless. She gives hope to many Americans and to future generations. I can say so much more about her, but she is truly phenomenal.

What is the last thing you watched on Netflix (and enjoyed)?
LD: I really enjoyed watching Bridgerton, I can not wait for the next season to come out. I love all Shonda Rhimes shows, especially Grey’s Anatomy.

Who is one of your favorite musicians?
LD: My favorite musician is BEYONCE! BEYONCE! BEYONCE!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Or anything other tidbits you would like to share…
LD: I enjoy working out. Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. I love to explore and learn about other cultures.  I’ve done a mission trip in Botswana, Africa and I’ve traveled to many other places.   My favorite place I’ve traveled to thus far would have to be JAMACIA.  I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends. I am a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. I am a wine connoisseur and I love going to vineyards to try out different wines. Fun Fact: I was born with six fingers on my left hand.           

 

 

Conversations Inspired by Challah

“It is not your responsibility to finish the work [of perfecting the world], but you are not free to desist from it either.” Pirkei Avot 2:16

On the evening of Tuesday, February 23, Everyone Home DC was honored to welcome nearly 25 friends from seven states and the District of Columbia for an intimate Conversation Inspired by Challah featuring Hannah, Sara, and Marni of the Challah Back Girls along with Beth Ricanati, MD, author of Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs and moderated by Rabbi Ilana Zietman of GatherDC. It was a lovely conversation centering on nontraditional approaches that lend to personal and communal healing.

Thank you to everyone who joined us! And, of course, a Zoom screenshot for your viewing pleasure. ❤

If you are interested in hosting an event in support of raising friends, funds, or awareness for Everyone Home DC, please contact Kate at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org to discuss! 

Staff Spotlight: Abby Maraya

Everyone Home DC is excited to introduce you to Abby Maraya! Abby has been working as a Development and Operations Specialist at Everyone Home DC for the last 2 years. Abby plays an important role in raising friends, funds, and awareness for Everyone Home DC’s critical programs and services. She balances this with also ensuring the organization’s day-to-day operations run smoothly–from fixing tech issues to ordering supplies to checking in on Everyone Home DC’s headquarters location throughout the pandemic. Abby’s first experience with Everyone Home DC  was as a Service Never Sleeps Fellow, where she worked closely with the Street Outreach program while at the same time working as a business manager for an IT company, and before that, she was a program manager at Little Lights. Abby graduated from the University of Virginia and majored in Psychology with a minor in Asian Pacific American Studies.  Abby recently shared a bit about herself and her experience at Everyone Home DC.

What inspired you to work at Everyone Home DC?
AM: As a former Service Never Sleeps fellow, I got to see the awesome work Everyone Home DC does. I was really curious about development because all I’ve known was the program side from my time at Little Lights. I’m glad the timing and opportunity aligned. I am learning and am continuing to learn a great deal under Kate (Akalonu, Director of Strategic Initiatives) due to her breadth of experience and knowledge!

What is one of your favorite Everyone Home DC memories?
AM: One of my favorite memories is the feeling of accomplishment after Everyone Home DC’s signature event in 2019, Sip and Savor. I felt proud of the work we had done and the amazing support from fellow staff and attendees. The hug from Kate at the end of the night was the best and a mark of a successful evening.

What do you wish other people knew about Everyone Home DC?
AM: I’d like people to know that we are here for our entire community and we all thrive when everyone has access to safe, affordable, and comfortable homes. We cannot accomplish our goals without our dedicated supporters! We are always looking for ways to grow and deepen relationships to thrive in DC together!

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the DC area?
AM: My hometown is Springfield, VA. Heritage wise, I am a proud Filipino-American! I’ve lived in VA since I was 9. DC resident since 2019!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
AM: Normal times – I love to travel and eat where I’m traveling. Bucket list destinations are France, Japan, Singapore, and wherever I can see the Northern Lights. COVID times – Spending time with my nieces and playing the Nintendo Switch.  Abby Sypek (Community Engagement Manager) got me into Animal Crossing. Just Dance 2021 is how I get my fitness on (Ice Cream by Blackpink feat Selena Gomez on repeat).

If you could go to a concert tomorrow, what artist/group would you want to see and why?
AM: TBH (to be honest) if the Spice Girls had a reunion concert with all the five members, I would pay to go in a heartbeat. For a more realistic answer, I’d like to go to a charity concert featuring Dua Lipa, Adele, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, Lizzo, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias and of course, Janet Jackson.

What is your favorite thing about working in Washington, DC?
AM: I love being surrounded by passionate, community-minded people. The energy of the city helps too. It’s really great to see people come together for a meaningful cause to make a difference!

What is something people reading this may not know about you?
AM: I was part of a group in college called the Hot Fudge Hunnies and we won an ice-cream eating contest called the Vermonster, twice.