At Everyone Home DC, we know housing is the solution to ending homelessness AND we understand it is not sufficient for long-term success. Families transitioning out of homelessness need resources beyond decent affordable housing to thrive: food, education, employment, parenting supports, children’s services, transportation, health and mental health care.
Families just like Mary and Tracy’s.
Mary grew up in Mississippi, where she experienced the trauma of parental abuse and lacked strong family attachments. When she was a young adult, an aunt moved Mary to the D.C. region hoping that she would find solace and success in a new environment.
With limited education and work experience, Mary was dependent on her aunt. When her aunt passed away, Mary found herself struggling to care for her family alone. She moved her family into emergency shelter after exhausting all other options. Stressed by her circumstances, Mary experienced depression and anxiety and used substances to self-medicate. Her addiction resulted in Tracy being removed from her care. Mary was tired and longed for change.
For Mary, it was intensive substance abuse treatment and connection to Everyone Home DC that allowed her to make lasting change. After getting clean and sober, Mary regained custody of Tracy and learned her family was eligible for housing through Everyone Home DC’s Permanent Supportive Housing program. She signed a lease for an apartment of her own and began receiving supportive services to ensure housing stabilization, maximum
levels of self-sufficiency, and a better quality of life. Everyone Home DC was there to help Mary and Tracy thrive in their new lives.
With stable housing and caring support from Everyone Home DC, Mary and Tracy were able to move beyond the past and focus on their future. Members of their Everyone Home DC support team have served as coordinators and advocates for Mary with landlords, service providers, and school administrators, and as motivators and cheerleaders for Mary and Tracy as they took on new challenges. Mary started attending Everyone Home DC’s parenting classes, finding comfort in the routine, while having a space to address parenting questions and creating meaningful friendships with other mothers in the program. Over the years, she rarely missed a class and grew into a leadership role, reminding her friends when meetings were scheduled and offering suggestions for how the group could evolve. Today, Mary is focused on improving her literacy skills and is looking for a consistent employment or volunteer opportunity.
Children experiencing homelessness tend to score lower on standardized tests and have lower graduation rates. It’s difficult to concentrate in class when you’re worried about your housing or don’t sleep well in shelter, and it’s hard to prepare for tests when you don’t have a home, let alone a quiet room where you can study. This was true for Tracy when she was homeless, but with her new stability in our housing program, Tracy enjoyed going to school and was able to focus on her homework, creating meaningful relationships with her friends, and pursuing her interest in fashion. Along the way, Everyone Home DC was there to help with navigating the education system, and with school enrichment fees, school supplies, and uniform costs. Tracy attended Washington Mathematics Science Technology Public Charter School all four years of high school. She excelled there and even took AP classes. This past spring, Tracy attended the school’s prom and shortly after, graduated from high school!
Thanks to her hard work and your support, Tracy’s story is just beginning. Tracy now has her sights set on attending university. She toured several campuses and has decided to stay in Washington, DC to attend Trinity University in the Spring. Tracy plans to be the first person in her family to graduate from university.
You are a part of Mary and Tracy’s story. Your continued support will make ongoing healing and progress possible for them and families like theirs. 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. In the spirit of the season, please make an urgently needed contribution today. We need YOU to make this vision of opportunity possible. [LINK TO DONATE PAGE]