COVID-19: Our New Normal

Dear Friend,

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. How are you doing right now? These past couple of weeks have been moving so fast, with new information coming at us all day long. We are all going through a collective traumatic experience right now, which requires each of us to be extra gentle with ourselves as well as others. 

As we settle into what is our new normal, all of us at Everyone Home DC are filled with extreme gratitude for the love we have felt from our amazing champions (YOU!) who have reached out to ask how to help, shared words of encouragement, and made donations to ensure we remain agile during this unprecedented time. Thank you!

We are all feeling vulnerable, anxious, and concerned. And, due to the economic injustice that we know has existed in our society for decades, the individuals and families we work with—who were facing crisis and instability long before this pandemic—are feeling far more exposed to the harshness of this new reality. 

Please consider making a donation today in support of the individuals and families we work with each day during this uncertain time

The fast-paced spread of COVID-19 brings new situations that we have never experienced as an organization in our 50 years of existence. Everyone Home DC is dedicated during this time 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. 

  • We continue  to provide case management support for families in our housing and prevention programs by phone and email, ensuring housing stability and access to much needed resources and support.
  • Our drop-in day center, Shirley’s Place, is currently closed and continues to assist clients with mail pick up throughout the week and responding to emergency situations remotely.
  • Our Street Outreach team is working closely with local partners to ensure individuals who sleep outside are receiving health and welfare checks and access to basic needs resources.
  • We are advocating for safe housing alternatives and practices in shelters and making hand-washing stations, bathrooms, and food available to those who live outside.
  • We are sharing up-to-date announcements and resources on Everyone Home DC’s website. 

Help Everyone Home DC respond quickly and efficiently during this great time of need. If there is any time to be there for the individuals and families in our city who are most impacted by gaps in our social safety net—it is now. With your gift today to Everyone Home DC, we will be prepared to move with speed and agility as we stand beside the people we work with and confront, together, the challenges that most certainly lie ahead.

Thank you in advance for your support. We cannot do this without you. If you need anything, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here for you during this time, in the same way that you continue to always be here for us.

In the cause,

Karen Cunningham
Executive Director

 

Important Resources:

Distance Learning Resources for Parents

With school closures lasting through April in DC (at the moment!) during the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, distance learning has become the new normal for families in our region and across the nation. Teachers are tasked with figuring out how to deliver lesson plans and classroom activities as part of distance learning. And, parents and guardians are trying to keep their children on track with their studies and educational growth.

Deep breaths! In addition to materials your school has provided, there are TONS of options available (for FREE!) online. We started to compile a list and wanted to share it with you. We will continue to update it as resources appear. So if you are looking to explore lots of lessons about space with NASA; go on a field trip to a dairy farm, ride roller coasters at Disney, or check out the beluga whales at the Georgia Aquarium; share a coloring play date with a friend; join an art tutorial session; take a dance class — there are lots of opportunities available to help us pass the time while practicing social distance.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS

We hope you find this resource helpful.
If there is anything you think we should add, email Kate at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org to share.

 

COVID-19: The Weeks Ahead

*Update* Everyone Home DC offices are currently closed and our team is working remotely. Currently, we plan to re-open our offices on Monday, April 27.

As we work through these unprecedented times as a community, the health and safety of our clients, staff, and supporters is our top priority. 

Public health guidance and the District’s response continue to change rapidly and Everyone Home DC is working closely with our city leaders and government partners to ensure that the plans we put in place appropriately support the many individuals and families in DC who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. We will use our social media platforms, Google Business pages, and website to share operational updates as they unfold. 

With guidance from DC Health, DC Department of Human Services, DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, CDC, and  World Health Organization, Everyone Home DC has developed a Continuity of Operations Plan for COVID-19 to guide the operations of Everyone Home DC through this time.

Current steps we are taking include:

  • Implementing appropriate screening procedures and enhanced cleaning protocols specific to the virus.
  • Closing our day center, Shirley’s Place, and directing guests to other resources.
  • Continuing Street Outreach in a way that limits risk to our clients, while allowing  us to do health and welfare checks.
  • Closing our offices and providing homelessness prevention and supportive services to families primarily by phone and email.
  • Pausing our volunteer programs through the end of April, with plans to evaluate resuming at that time. 
  • Providing regular communication to staff and clients as the situation evolves.

Many are asking what you can do to help. Here are ways to support our most immediate needs:

  • First and foremost—prioritize yourself and your family. Ensure your needs are met and your family isn’t exhibiting any signs of illness. We will share some resources below in case they are helpful. 
  • We have an URGENT need for hand sanitizer, disposable face masks in packaging, and $10-$20 gift cards to Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds, and Subway. If you find any of these items, please consider donating them in-kind. Please contact Kate at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org to coordinate a drop-off.
  • Consider making a monetary donation to Everyone Home DC to be used towards the greatest needs during this unprecedented time.

We are very concerned about our unhoused neighbors who are particularly vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19. And, we believe this crisis will have significant impacts on the people we work with, especially combined with the increased anxiety and stress of the unknown that lays ahead. Like always, with your support, we plan to be here not just today, but in the weeks and months ahead, working as a community to address any of the impacts felt from this moment. 

 

We will continue to be in touch as we know more and understand the implications of this pandemic for any future planning. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out. 

 

In the cause,
Karen Cunningham
Executive Director

Important Resources:

Vote Us Best of DC!

It is that time of the year…Best of DC is here! Take a couple minutes (if that) and vote Everyone Home DC Washington City Paper’s Best Nonprofit and Everyone Home DC’s Sip and Savor Best Charity Event!

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. AND, with 3 hours of tastings from 25 of our city’s most sought after food and beverage purveyors, it is time to let DC know Sip and Savor is one of The Best!

Voting is easy and takes but a minute. Click this link to get to the online ballot. Select “People and Places”, scroll down the alphabetical list stopping first at “Best Charity Event” and type Everyone Home DC Sip and Savor in the vote box, then enter your email address and select submit. Then, continue scrolling to “Best Nonprofit” and type Everyone Home DC in the vote box, at this point you are logged in, so just select submit. That’s it!

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Black History Month: What We are Reading

One way Everyone Home DC is choosing to honor Black history (this month and every month) is to intentionally and continuously grow our knowledge of racists policies and practices that impact the creation of equitable systems and structures. Check out some of the articles, podcasts, and books that we are following below and if there is anything we are missing our should have on our radar, we are always looking to grow our library. Shoot us an email at info@everyonehomedc.org and share with us what you are reading.

Updated on February 16, 2020

Partnering with Enterprise to Address Homelessness in Our City

Everyone Home DC is excited to announce a new grant partnership with Enterprise’s Mid-Atlantic Market. The $40,000 grant will enhance the services Everyone Home DC’s Street Outreach team provides individuals experiencing homelessness in the Eastern Market neighborhood. The Street Outreach team utilizes 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 includes obtaining stable housing. Additionally, the grant will support Everyone Home DC’s advocacy work and growing its Faith Community Council, allowing Everyone Home DC to engage clients and community members in advocating for funding to end homelessness and other issues that directly affect people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in the District.

“I am beyond thrilled that Enterprise Community Partners has chosen to invest in Everyone Home DC’s work to end homelessness in the District of Columbia. Our Enterprise grant will enable us to enhance the services we provide for individuals experiencing homelessness in the areas of essential needs, wellness, income and learning,” shared Everyone Home DC Executive Director Karen Cunningham. “We will be able to not only address immediate survival needs, but also provide a range of other supports that our clients need in order to obtain and maintain housing, and ultimately, to thrive.”

Read more about this exciting opportunity on Enterprise’s website.

Everyone Home DC Participates in Annual Point in Time Count

On the cold evening of January 22 and into the early morning hour of January 23, more than 300 volunteers joined members of homeless services organizations from all over the city to perform DC’s annual Point in Time Count (PIT Count).  The Point-in-Time count provides critical data and insights to service providers and policy makers concerning where to focus city and federal dollars in the on-going struggle to prevent and end homelessness.

The rules for how and when the PIT Count is conducted are dictated by HUD. The count is a snapshot of the homeless population that takes place, nationwide, in the last week of January every year. To streamline the process, this year was the first year the PIT Count was conducted by an app instead of paper and pen. To get the evening started, a kickoff event was held at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus, where Mayor Murial Bowser and Councilmember Brianne Nadeau shared remarks of gratitude and encouragement before the teams spread out over the city to begin the count and survey, which is not required. The survey provides the city with valuable demographic information and includes questions about episodes of homelessness, age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and experience with domestic violence.  

From 10 pm to 2am, Everyone Home DC lead a team of 12 people, canvassing Capitol Hill streets, sidewalks, buildings, bridges, and back alleyways looking for our homeless neighbors, many of whom have no choice but to live in our public spaces. With the city’s hypothermia alert activated, our PIT team counted a handful of people sleeping outside. View photos from the evening on Everyone Home DC’s Facebook page.

Everyone Home DC is grateful to our staff, our industry colleagues, and everyone who shared their time in this important moment to ensure the count’s success. We look forward to reviewing and sharing the regional analysis, that typically comes out in May, by the Metropolitan Council of Governments

Additional Articles and Resources:

 

Darjonae’s Story — Finding Stability & Growth

Around this time last year, Darjonae found herself aging out of a transitional housing program designed for teen mothers. She needed a place to move to with her three young children–her five-year-old daughter and one-year old twins. Feeling overwhelmed and unsure, Darjonae visited Virginia Williams Family Resource Center, the central intake office for all families in our city seeking assistance with housing instability. Darjonae received a referral to Everyone Home DC’s Family Homelessness Prevention Program. 

Families who arrive at Everyone Home DC to meet with our Homelessness Prevention Team are often living in a temporary situation, sometimes moving frequently. They find themselves on the verge of homelessness and are seeking assistance in finding short-term support and help developing housing stabilization plans to secure homes where their families can thrive.

Darjonae arrived at Everyone Home DC, unsure of what to expect and determined to stabilize her family’s housing. She felt an immediate connection with her prevention specialist, and they began meeting frequently. The first goal was to identify a short-term place for Darjonae’s family to stay. Conversations led to her father being an option, and after a few phone calls, it was confirmed that, although he didn’t have a lot of extra space or resources, they would reside with him for a few weeks. Feeling some relief, Darjonae next worked on creating a plan for long-term, stable housing, which included pursuing steady employment, enrolling her children in childcare, and securing a safe, affordable, and comfortable home. 

Within a couple of months, Darjonae secured employment, received subsidized early learning and after school care for her children, and built stronger relationships with some of her relatives. Then in the spring, Darjonae learned the good news–she had been approved for an apartment and would continue to receive support through the city’s Rapid Re-Housing program. Through this program, Darjonae has ongoing support with rent along with resources and services specifically tailored to her family’s needs and strengths. Now, one year since we first met Darjonae, her story is filled with hope. 

You are a part of Darjonae’s story. Your steadfast commitment to Everyone Home DC makes the possibility of stability and growth possible for Darjonae’s family and all families in our city. 

YOU are the reason Everyone Home DC is able to be there for families during times of crisis and instability. And, it is YOU who enables Everyone Home DC to continue advocating for broader social changes to address the historical and systemic racism, economic conditions, and gaps in our social safety net that lead to housing instability for too many families like Darjonae’s, and allow circumstances like disability, domestic violence, substance abuse, and previous incarceration transform into vulnerabilities that heighten the risk of homelessness—most especially for minorities.

Everyone Home DC envisions the District of Columbia as a thriving and diverse community where all people can obtain and remain in safe, affordable, and comfortable homes. Thank you for making this vision of opportunity possible

In the News…

On Thursday, December 19, The People For Fairness Coalition hosted its 7th Annual Overnight Homeless Vigil to remember the 81 men and women who died in DC this past year without the dignity of a home. 

In a timely piece titled “Broken systems created homelessness — and only multifaceted solutions can end it, advocates say“, The DC Line spoke with area advocates, including our very own Executive Director Karen Cunningham, about what is necessary to end homelessness in DC and the noticeable impacts of multisector collaboration. 

“We need to lift people out of poverty by putting more resources into quality education, employment, child care and health care — and to make sure that people have access to what they need to thrive,” Karen Cunningham added. “If we’re going to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring, all those other things upstream need to be addressed.”

Read the full article now

Looking For Last Minute Gifts? We Can Help.

Finding a meaningful holiday gift can be challenging, especially when shopping for the person who has everything. This holiday season, give a gift that makes our community stronger! Honor those you care about AND provide Everyone Home DC’s homelessness prevention, housing, street outreach, and supportive services for our neighbors who find themselves in vulnerable situations. The process couldn’t be easier!

1. Make a Donation
Every gift made through the end of December will be matched up to $15,000 thanks to long-time Everyone Home DC supporters.

2. Download a Certificate of Donation
After making your donation, download your certificate and personalize it.

3. Check this item off your holiday to do list.
Thank you for giving a gift that builds a stronger and more vibrant city for all!