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:

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

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!

Lessons Learned | A Yearlong Reflection

Three times a week, I attend the breakfast program “Our Daily Bread” at Capitol Hill United Methodist Church where housed and unhoused neighbors join together to start their morning. As a part of Everyone Home DC’s Street Outreach team, my goal is to build and maintain relationships with our chronically homeless neighbors. Maybe that’s not a common thing to do for a German high school graduate. How did I get here?

My name is Max, I am 19 years old, and I am from Darmstadt, Germany. I am doing a voluntary service year with a German organization called Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) that places volunteers in nonprofit organizations in Europe, Israel, and the United States. When founded in 1958, ARSP called upon the Germans to seek forgiveness and to practice reconciliation for the crimes Germany had committed during the reign of the National Socialists.

Many ARSP volunteers work in communities which have been persecuted by the National Socialists. Among those communities are survivors of the NS-persecution and their descendants, Jewish organizations, people with disabilities, and also people experiencing homelessness. About 10.000 people experiencing homelessness whom the Nazis called “asocial” were forcibly put in concentration camps.

Together with 23 other volunteers, I arrived in the US in September. Being here for the first time, I had a lot of new experiences: peanut butter Oreos became my favorite snack, I endured DC’s humidity for the first time, and I learned to live with American bread (which Germans love to complain about).

I work part-time for Everyone Home DC and part-time for another organization. Being on the Street Outreach team gave me the opportunity to get to know many great people and to learn a lot about homelessness. By building relationships with many friendly and welcoming people, I was taught to overcome my prejudices and to be open to everyone despite the burdens one might carry.

I learned that homelessness isn’t something that defines you as a person, but that it is a traumatic experience people are going through.

I also got to know the struggles people experiencing homelessness are going through and I saw what problems keep people from thriving in their communities. It is shocking for me that so many people are living in poverty in a city as wealthy as Washington, D.C. I was also surprised to find out how disproportionately ethnic minorities are affected by homelessness.

As I am wrapping up my service, I look back on a year full of great memories and intense experiences. I am grateful to Everyone Home DC for giving me the opportunity to work here for a year. I am sad to leave the organization, my co-workers, and the people I’ve met through my work as I am going back to Germany to start college there.