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.

You are a part of Ernest’s story

We can’t say thank you enough. In a year when everything has felt so incredibly different, your support has remained constant, offering Everyone Home DC much needed stability and inspiration. Thank you for standing with us during this historic year and in the delicate months ahead. Your dependable support makes stories like Ernest’s possible. 

Seven years ago, Ernest married the love of his life and best friend. They were filled with optimism for their future. Just two years into their marriage, however, his wife became ill. Over a short period, she had five surgeries and could no longer access their third-floor home without an elevator. They decided it would be best for her to move into a facility with round the clock support. Ernest was left with limited options and began to consider sleeping outside. 

Ernest found a spot outdoors near the aquatic center in Eastern Market, where he felt comfortable sleeping. He learned how to live unhoused—things like the best clothing and bedding materials to endure all of nature’s elements, how to ward off unwanted pests, and tricks like not eating anything after 7 p.m. because there were no public restrooms available. Ernest and his wife spent their days together, grateful for each other’s company. Ernest would help vendors at the market and became connected with Everyone Home DC’s Street Outreach Team. 

Because of your commitment to our mission and programs, Everyone Home DC’s Street Outreach Team has deployed throughout the Eastern Market neighborhood for the last decade, working with chronically homeless individuals who live outdoors. Using a person-centered approach, our Street Outreach Team builds and maintains relationships and supports neighbors experiencing homelessness in meeting their immediate needs and achieving their long-term goals, including obtaining stable housing.

Ernest’s number one goal was to find a home to move back into with his wife. A place where she could comfortably rest, heal, and recover. Ernest felt an immediate connection with the Street Outreach Team and regularly connected to set manageable goals to secure stable housing. With our Team’s help, Ernest applied for one of the District’s scarce and highly coveted Permanent Supportive Housing resources. At times, the process felt lonely and confusing, and required a great deal of determination and patience. Yet, Ernest never lost hope.

It is your gift this holiday season to Everyone Home DC that ensures all people living in the District have access to meaningful relationships that connect them with supportive networks. This is even more important during the ongoing global health emergency. For Ernest, support meant being linked to available community resources like warm meals, a place to collect mail, assistance completing important paperwork, and reminders about upcoming deadlines.

In March, when DC declared a Public Health Emergency due to the novel coronavirus, everything came screeching to an unfamiliar halt. The meal program Ernest enjoyed visiting at Capitol Hill United Methodist Church was temporarily paused. Access to bathrooms and running water disappeared. And Ernest’s wife could no longer leave the facility she was staying in, which was devastating for them both. The harshness of this new reality left Ernest feeling even more anxious, vulnerable, and concerned. Having our Street Outreach Team stay in touch, sharing critical public health updates, providing access to essential resources including PPE and hygiene kits, and offering updates on his housing application kept him physically well and his spirit strong. 

People experiencing homelessness are at high risk of COVID-19 exposure. Our unhoused neighbors are particularly vulnerable to exposure and complications, due to lack of a safe place to quarantine and receive healthcare. Everyone Home DC’s Street Outreach Team has continued to support unhoused neighbors during these very uncertain and dangerous times through face-to-face engagements, distributing COVID supply bags, and supporting newly housed neighbors’ transitions into their homes. 

One of those newly housed neighbors’ is Ernest! A couple of months into the global health pandemic, Ernest received the news that his housing request was approved, a home was ready for him and his wife to move into. Filled with excitement, he called to share the news with her only to be sent to voicemail, which was not expected. Ernest soon learned that his beloved wife had passed away. Ernest strongly believes that she would still be alive today if they had been together and with housing. This global health crisis has exposed now more than ever that housing truly is healthcare

Today, Ernest is proud to have a place to call home. He appreciates having a door to walk through each day and close behind him, providing him safety, comfort, and privacy to grieve. Ernest loves to cook his own food and is most happy to have a fried egg sandwich whenever he wants one. He enjoys reading his Bible each day and never having to worry about it getting wet. His knees don’t hurt as badly as they did when sleeping outside. He is grateful to have water whenever he needs it to wash his hands, keep his home clean, and take warm baths.

You are a part of Ernest’s story. Your steadfast commitment to Everyone Home DC helps make housing stability possible for Ernest and people in our city experiencing similar circumstances. Due to the economic and racial injustice that 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. If there is any time to be there for people in our city who are most impacted by gaps in our social safety net—it is now.

In the spirit of the season, please make a personally meaningful year-end contribution today to ensure Everyone Home DC can respond efficiently during this significant time of need. With your gift today, Everyone Home DC will be prepared to be here not just today but, in the weeks, and months ahead, working as a community to put the needs of people like Ernest at the center of a just recovery. Thank you in advance for your support. We cannot do this without YOU.

Looking For Last Minute Gifts? We Can Help.

THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, GIVE A GIFT THAT MAKES YOUR COMMUNITY STRONGER!

Finding a meaningful holiday gift for the people you love can be a challenge. This year, honor those you care about by making a donation on their behalf to Everyone Home DC. Your holiday gift will provide urgent and critical resources to individuals and families living in Washington, DC, who are feeling far more exposed to the harshness of the current global health pandemic. The process couldn’t be easier…

1. Make a Donation
Everyone Home DC will put your meaningful gift in honor to work immediately in support of individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC.

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!