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!

2019 Executive Reflection

Dear Friends,

What a year we have had! It is hard to believe that it was just this spring that we changed our name from Capitol Hill Group Ministry to Everyone Home DC. It rolls off our tongues so easily now and I am delighted at how wholeheartedly it has been embraced by all of you. We could not get a better confirmation that Everyone Home DC effectively communicates our mission, reflects our diverse community, and aligns with our shared vision of the District of Columbia as a thriving and diverse community, where all people can obtain and remain in safe, affordable, and comfortable homes.

While rolling out the name change was a big and successful undertaking, it was only one of many things we accomplished this year. We also: 

  • Prevented homelessness for more than 600 families
  • Provided 52 workshops for clients on topics such as how to conduct an apartment search, budgeting, planning for end of life decisions and the custody of children, and the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants
  • Welcomed six new Board members with tremendous skill sets and passion for our work
  • Provided more hot, home-cooked meals, and a record 1,400 showers at Shirley’s Place
  • Helped more than 400 chronically homeless individuals stay safe through inclement weather, access medical care, and improve their quality of life, with seven able to move into permanent housing.
  • Successfully advocated for increased investments in housing interventions proven to end homelessness, including the largest ever increase in Permanent Supportive Housing for individuals in the City’s history 

None of this would be possible without you. I am endlessly grateful for each of you who give your time, your dollars, your ideas, and your encouragement as we work each day to support people at risk of or experiencing homelessness in a city where the gulf between the haves and have nots is wide. Thank you for sharing our commitment to building a city where all people are welcomed in our communities, can live in safe and stable homes, and have what they need to thrive. 

I am proud of what we have accomplished together this year and optimistic about the future. I look forward to enjoying the holidays and then stepping boldly into 2020 with all of you, ready to continue fighting for a city where no one lives or dies without the dignity and security of a home.

With warm wishes for a joyful holiday season,

Karen Cunningham
Everyone Home DC
Executive Director

This #GivingTuesday Show Some Love for Everyone Home DC

Today is #GivingTuesday, an international day of giving that introduces the charitable season. This #GivingTuesday, Everyone Home DC is asking its generous community to support families on the verge of homelessness by ensuring each new family who walks through our door receives a Family Emergency Package. Your gift of $50 or more can provide a family with a supply of resources unique to their needs such as food, toiletries, diapers, wipes, formula, air mattresses, and cleaning supplies.

WILL YOU BE THERE FOR THE NEXT FAMILY WHO ARRIVES AT EVERYONE HOME DC? GIVE TODAY AND YOUR GIFT WILL BE MATCHED. 

 Families who come to us for help each day are often living temporarily with relatives and friends, moving frequently. They find themselves on the verge of homelessness and are seeking assistance to stabilize their housing. A Family Emergency Package offers respite, in that moment, as they begin the work with our Homelessness Prevention Program team to develop a plan, identify resources, and set goals that will allow them to remain stably housed in their community and connected to their natural systems of support, rather than having to enter the shelter system.

AS ADDED INCENTIVE, EVERY GIFT MADE THROUGH THE END OF DECEMBER WILL BE MATCHED UP TO $15,000 THANKS TO LONG-TIME EVERYONE HOME DC SUPPORTERS. DONATE NOW AND DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT!

Video of Gratitude for You

For you, we are grateful.

You continue to amaze and inspire us with your extreme generosity, compassion, creativity, and dedication. We are honored to work alongside you to ensure all families living in the District have access to services and programs that connect them with supportive networks so they can make positive gains in their lives. Your support is what makes our work possible, and together, we are building a more vibrant city for everyone. Thank you for all YOU make possible. We hope you enjoy this video we made just for you


From All of Us at Everyone Home DC, Happy Thanksgiving!

‘Tis the Season to Share Your Merry!

The winter holiday season is right around the corner and YOU can ensure Everyone Home DC families experience a joyful holiday by sponsoring a family’s wish list this year. The success of this holiday initiative would not be possible without you! So please, gather your friends, colleagues, congregations, book clubs and support a family (or 2) this year! Below is more information on how to get started.

 
GETTING STARTED

Contact Shelah Wilcox at wilcox@everyonehomedc.org or 202-544-3150 to discuss the wish lists of our families, most immediate needs, and discuss next steps. There are many ways to get involved: 

  • Support a family (or 2!) by purchasing gifts from their holiday wish list.
  • Support the wish list of an individual child or children by purchasing gifts.
  • Remember the teenagers and purchase gift cards to Target, Amazon, Best Buy, Visa/Mastercard, local and metro accessible movie theaters, restaurants, etc.
  • Coordinate a toy drive to collect educational toys for children.   

DROPPING OFF WISH LIST ITEMS

Shirley’s Place Day Center | 1338 G Street SE
Monday, December 16 – Friday, December 20 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If you prefer to support Everyone Home DC by making a monetary donation, you can make a gift on Everyone Home DC’s website or make checks payable to Everyone Home DC and mail to Kate Akalonu, Everyone Home DC, 415 2nd Street NE, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20002. 

It’s Thanks-GIVING Basket Time!

Each Fall, Everyone Home DC hosts its Thanks-GIVING Basket Drive to provide Thanksgiving meals for families living in our city. Last year, with your support, Everyone Home DC distributed nearly 450 baskets. We are forecasting a similar need this year. So please, gather your friends, colleagues, congregations, book clubs and donate a basket (or three or ten) again this year! Below is more information on how to get started, what the needs are, along with when and where to drop baskets off.

STEP ONE: GETTING STARTED
Contact Shelah Wilcox at wilcox@everyonehomedc.org or 202-544-3150 and share the number of baskets you plan to donate and to ask any questions.

STEP TWO: GO SHOPPING
A Thanks-GIVING Basket donation includes: 2 cans of string beans, yams, or cranberry sauce; 2 boxes of stuffing mashed potatoes or 1 bag of rice; 2 cans of gravy or 2 gravy packets; 2 onions; 3 boxes of mac and cheese; 1 box of Bisquick or muffin mix; 1 box of cake mix and frosting; one (1) $25 Giant, Harris Teeter or Safeway gift card
to purchase meat/protein of choice.

STEP THREE: ASSEMBLE BASKETS
Baskets can be decorated boxes, reusable grocery bags or totes, crates, brown paper bags, etc. You are welcome to include notes to the families wishing them a Happy Thanksgiving. Please place gift cards in an envelope.

STEP FOUR: DROP OFF BASKETS
Shirley’s Place Day Center | 1338 G Street SE
Monday, November 18-Friday, November 22
or Sunday, November 24
from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you prefer to support Everyone Home DC by making a monetary donation, you can make a gift on Everyone Home DC’s website or by check. Make checks payable to Everyone Home DC and mail to Kate Akalonu, Everyone Home DC, 415 2nd Street NE, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20002.

Final Thought: Sip and Savor 2019

On Saturday, September 14, Everyone Home DC’s 4th Annual Sip and Savor welcomed more than 400 foodies, friends, and supporters to experience three hours of unlimited tastings from 25 local restaurants, breweries, and beverage vendors while enjoying music and friendship. The signature fundraiser raised nearly $90,000 in support of Everyone Home DC’s homelessness prevention, housing, street outreach, drop-in day center, and supportive services for Washington D.C.’s individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness. WUSA9 Get Up DC host, Reese Waters, stopped by in support of the festivities and shared this “Final Thought” with those in attendance before he departed.

For my final thought this evening I would like to talk a little bit about the hashtag #HousingEndHomelessness. It seems obvious doesn’t It? Just as food ends hunger, Housing ends homelessness, and yet tonight, in this city, the capitol of our nation, over 6000 souls, adult and child, will be going to bed without a home to call their own.

How did we get here? How does a city, how does a nation, as wealthy as ours, end up in this place?

The first impulse of most is victim blaming.“It’s their own fault.” “They don’t work hard enough.” “They shouldn’t abuse themselves with drugs.”

They need to pull themselves up by the what? Bootstraps.

“If they would just work harder, get better educated, have both parents in the home, then everything would be fine.”

What they always conveniently leave out is the greed that has put affordable housing out of the reach of working people and families, predominately Black, in DC. In order to live in a one-bedroom apartment, one bedroom, a minimum waged person would need to work 80 hours in a single week, to meet the price of the average DC rent. 80 hours! Got a family? Want to live in a two bedroom? Well get ready, because you need to make about 32 dollars an hour, if you want to live any kind of life. That’s 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, every year. The denied generational wealth due to the legacies of racist policies as well as a lack of resources to turn to forces me to ask,

How does one pull their bootstraps up, when one’s boots are being yanked off their feet at the same time?

There is a solution, and it’s right here in this room……it’s community.

This community has already demonstrated that it can do great things. Since the launch of the Districts strategic plan to end homelessness, over 5,000 people have moved off the streets, out of shelters and into housing. Over 90% of folks who go into permanent supportive housing with wrap around services, do not return to homelessness within 1 year.

These numbers are fantastic, but we mustn’t allow them to make us complacent. If we want to end this problem, if we want to end homelessness in the district then we must keep working, keep striving. We must keep pressure on our elected officials, making sure that they are as invested, monetarily and spiritual, into programs like this one and others, as we are. And we must make sure that they are working to level playing fields put in place by age old systemic policies.

Most importantly, we must learn that they, are us. We must see the homeless for who they are; our neighbors, our family, our people, and we must treat them with the dignity that they deserve.

Let’s Continue this Conversation Online. Tell me what personal commitment you will make to support our shared goal of ending homelessness, and let’s get the hashtag housing ends homelessness popping……Get Up Everyone Home DC!

Another Successful Sip and Savor!

Everyone Home DC’s 4th Annual Sip and Savor was a huge success, raising critical funds for individuals & families at risk of or experiencing homelessness. 

Everyone Home DC’s 4th Annual Sip and Savor was an incredible evening of unlimited tastings and good company! We were honored to welcome WUSA9 Get Up DC host Reese Waters for a portion of the evening and enjoyed music, for the fourth year, in a row from Capitol Hill favorite Sciatic Verve. The gathering was its most successful yet, with even more sponsors, silent auction prizes, food and beverage purveyors, volunteers, and patrons coming together to support Everyone Home DC’s homelessness prevention, housing, street outreach, drop-in day center, and supportive services for Washington DC’s individuals and families who find themselves in vulnerable situations.

FOLLOW EVERYONE HOME DC ON FACEBOOK & VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE EVENING.

Everyone Home DC’s 4th Annual Sip and Savor collectively raised nearly $90,000 with close to 450 registered participants! We were excited to see so many new and old friends and sincerely hope those in attendance are inspired to stay engaged with Everyone Home DC so that ALL people in our city have access to safe, affordable, and comfortable homes. 

It is the responsibility of each of us to end homelessness is Washington, D.C. and to build the welcoming and inclusive community our founders believed is possible. If you’re interested in taking action today, consider doing one, two, three, or ALL of the following below. 

  • Join Everyone Home DC’s Sip and Savor Committee in October to celebrate the success of this year’s event and learn how to join the 2020 Sip and Savor committee.
  • Eat, drink, & karaoke on Monday, December 2 with That’s Our Cue! karaoke in support of Everyone Home DC at Mr. Henry’s. More info coming soon on website.
  • Organize a drive October through January to collect holiday and critical seasonal items for individuals and families.
  • Volunteer with our Homeless Assistance Response Team (HART) & offer life-saving outreach services to our unsheltered neighbors.
  • Follow @everyonehomedc using your favorite social! You can find us on FacebookInstagram, & Twitter.To learn more contact Kate Akalonu at akalonu@everyonehomedc.org and check out www.everyonehomedc.org.

P.S. Each year, you provide us with post-event feedback that supports us in growing the success of Sip and Savor. Please consider taking this short survey (estimated completion time is 5 minutes) so we can continue in our success. Thank you!

P.P.S. We will be following up with silent auction winners over the next couple of days. If you have any questions about your silent auction winnings or to see if you won, please contact Abby Maraya.