CEO Schroeder Stribling Speaks to Holy Trinity Catholic Church

On January 26, 2021, Schroeder Stribling, CEO of N Street Village, joined the Holy Trinity Catholic Church as one of their CommuniTea guest speakers. Exploring how we rebuild for justice in 2021 and beyond, Schroeder Stribling talks about social justice from a racial, economic, and social lens. Find the recording here.

 

Reflections | Message from our CEO

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Village Friends,

I ended this week in a meeting of Village program leaders. There were nineteen people on our Zoom screen, mostly African American women, talking about their week. The shelter staff described how they responded to white supremacists marching past the shelter yelling racial slurs and angry epithets. They ushered the women inside, turned off the news, and put movies on instead. They ate dinner as a community and remained safely inside. They recalled their determination to project calm and to stay engaged in helping others. And then one staffer shared that her son was one of the officers wounded at the Capitol on Wednesday. His leg is broken, his shoulder hurt, but he will be ok, she said. Everyone listened quietly and offered their prayers for her and for him. They talked about how they felt as their shifts ended that day and they headed home. They recounted the upwelling of anger and fear. A moment of silence followed.

And then they went back to business – there was work to be done to keep the Village going for the women who need us. At the end of the meeting, the generous chorus of caring goodbyes rang out like a long ovation.

Much is being written and said about the racist assault on our country this week and the attempt by a few to tear down the true and universal democracy we intend for all – we intend, but clearly have not yet realized. And here at the Village, we experienced that assault firsthand.

At yesterday’s meeting, the affirmation and empathy for those who directly endured the taunts of Tuesday’s rioters were abundant. One colleague noted that the staff actions were a direct rejection and discreditation of racialized hate – they demonstrated “resistance with integrity.” They kept a building full of frightened people calm. They answered the attack by turning their backs to the rioters and turning their hearts toward one another. “Only light can drive out darkness, only love can drive out hate.”

At N Street Village the core of our mission demands that we resist and reject racism and inequity in all their forms. I often bemoan our designation as a “charity”- a term which is at best incomplete and at worst paternalistic. We know that were it not for our country’s history of slavery and systemic oppression there wouldn’t be the need for N Street Village as we know it. And as my friend, Sister Simone Campbell says, “there is no charity before there is justice.” We must be justice-seekers first and foremost. We must work each day for a world where everyone – everyone, no exceptions – has what they need to live free from aggression in both its’ visible and hidden forms. A world where everyone has a safe place to live, the opportunity to thrive, help for themselves when they need it, and the soulful satisfaction of helping others as well.

Some of us would say that we are responsible not only to speak out about the current racist assault on our country but also to amend for a history’s worth of wrongs. And I am sure that all of us would say that we are responsible for everything that happens next. That is how history is made. We are accountable now to our future and we have a long road before us. As former President Obama said, “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you will make progress.”

We are making history. What we each do next together has the power to create the inclusive and equitable future we envision. No effort is too small and all of our intentions matter. Sign our pledge, talk to your neighbor, share your perspective, say a prayer. Follow the lead of the N Street Village staff at the meeting yesterday – reject and discredit racism and hate. And then get back to work and do it all over again.

That’s what we’re doing here. And we thank you – every one of you – for being on this journey with us.

Schroeder Stribling
Chief Executive Officer

Letter from our CEO

As with the rest of the country, our attention at N Street Village has been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. Managing through this time has been extremely difficult but there are bright spots of inspiration and courage which deserve to be uplifted.

The difficulties are obvious and are most observable in the work of our frontline staff. The inspiration can be harder to perceive, but it is also most evident in the work of those same staff. As we have profiled in our “Frontline Fridays” series on social media, our staff are working with three distinct priorities: meeting the immediate and urgent needs of the women we serve, implementing critical health and safety measures through the use of PPE, social distancing and health screening, and safeguarding their own health and that of our colleagues and families. The inspiration comes from the relentless compassion and resilience with which our frontline staff approaches these priorities. We have been able to maintain the quantity, the quality, and the “heart” of our services because of their tireless efforts.

We are particularly appreciative during this time of the close collaboration that we have with our city government partners who have been speedy and effective in managing the risk of COVID-19 contagion. We have been able to do immediate contact tracing for any positive cases and adequate amounts of remote shelter and housing have been provided for Isolation, Quarantine, and Medically Vulnerable Individuals. These efforts have minimized the community spread of the virus and kept individuals safe to the best of our ability. As publicly reported and updated daily, there have been slightly over 350 cases of Coronavirus amongst persons in DC’s homeless services system and over 20 fatalities. Any illness or death grieves us but we are grateful that of the thousands of people in the homeless services system, we have thus far managed to keep these numbers as low as they are.

It is too early to know what effect the pandemic will ultimately have on human welfare and housing in the District. The eviction moratorium is still in place and will be until 60 days after the Public Health Emergency ends. As of several months ago, Brookings Institute reported that there were already 51,000 unstably housed residents in DC – 51,000 persons or households who are uncertain of their ability to maintain their rent and back-rent payments. In October, the Capital Area Food Bank projected a potential 60% increase in food insecurity due to the pandemic.

This early data reveals an obvious truth: economic and housing insecurity is on the rise and it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which we do not see an increase in homelessness over the coming year.

Here at the Village, we are doing our best to address the immediate needs at our front door while also preparing for the future: we have opened two new permanent supportive housing locations which together will house close to 60 individuals. Our Patricia Handy Place emergency shelter in downtown DC continues to keep its doors open and we have recently added a temporary shelter location that will serve up to 30 women.

As we enter a new year, we are all looking for good news, and here at the Village that is you. Without the interest, engagement, and commitment of our allies, stakeholders, donors, and partners we would not be able to continue to meet our mission imperatives. We thank you.

A Message from our CEO

Monday Morning, June 1, 2020. This is a morning when I would rather not write anything. This is a moment when words are grossly inadequate to the task. This is the most mournful Monday in America that I can remember.

I was born in the 1960’s. Racial and social unrest were tearing through the country. We were at war. Our government was found to be corrupt, and our country was divided. Young people were protesting, mothers were weeping, our foundational ideals were quaking.

Written on the heart of that decade is also the founding of N Street Village. The 14th Street corridor burned after the killing of Dr. King. The mentally disabled were newly homeless and a drug epidemic was emerging. A new poverty was ravaging us and its claws were scratching a line right down the racial diamond of our city.

Have I just told you about history or have I told you about past this weekend?

Suffice to say, this moment is historic.

I am a white leader of an organization that serves mostly Black women. That’s because we serve people in poverty – which greatly disadvantages Black women. That’s also because of white privilege – which has greatly advantaged me.

So my job now is to use that advantage on behalf of others. At this very moment white allies and white leaders are needed to come forward – from everywhere. If I were Glinda the Good Witch I’d wave that damn wand wildly and hope that ALL white allies – rookie or regular – come running.

However, the only wand I have now is a keyboard – and what words are at all sufficient? A “description of our disgust at what we’ve seen?” A “decry of the entire history of white on Black violence”? A “lament that some of us thought lynching was history until we saw for ourselves what happened to Rodney King?”

No, today, my words fail.

I can only think of a fable: I had a yoga teacher once who – when having us bend forward – would say “surrender your head to your heart.” In our hearts we do not need words. We need only the willingness to surrender to feelings of grief and rage and fear on behalf of our Black and Brown neighbors and friends, and those Black and Brown neighbors and friends yet unmet.

Especially to those of us who are white, may we surrender. May we surrender our thinking heads to our feeling hearts. May we let ourselves be moved to anger and despair. And then be moved again. Then may we be changed. Then may we act. Then may we be moved again, changed again, and act – again.

We are working every day to create and maintain an anti-racist community at N Street Village. Join us – find out more about what we are doing at our Advocacy Page at www.nstreetvillage.org.

Reflections on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Dear Friends,

In keeping with my tradition, I wanted to write you this reflection today as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. Here at N Street Village a vital part of our mission and our commitment is to be engaged in the cause of furthering social justice.

Every day we are witness to the racial injustice which persists in America today. I believe that we are also called to hold fast to the dream of true equality and liberation toward which Dr. King pointed and to discern our individual roles in its pursuit.

I think often about my responsibility as a white leader and what it means to be an ally in the struggle for racial justice – particularly in a time of national crisis when hatred and bigotry has been invited out of the shadows and has become so visible and vulgar on “main street.”

We are a long way from where so many of us would like to be – our work is far from over. And those of us born in the 60’s or before know that we are starting to pass the torch to a younger generation of people in hopes that you will go farther and longer than we have been able.

This year I want to share with you three things: a short movie (15 minutes), a medium length listen (30 minutes), and a quick read (5 minutes). These are things which have affected me over this past year, and I hope you will find interest, learning and inspiration from them. They all revolve in some way around the current and historical issues of segregation, the disenfranchisement of the Black community, and DC’s particular racial equity challenges related to affordable housing and homelessness.

  1. Segregated by Design: This short film is narrated by Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law and it borrows from his work. It is a vivid and clear (and quick) education about the ways in which African Americans have deliberately segregated by legal (“de jure”) means, denied the wealth accumulation enjoyed by the white community, and ultimately fated to impoverished communities and an intergenerational cycle of poverty.
  2. Ta-Nehisi Coates Interview: You may be familiar with Coates, who became well-known after publishing articles in The Atlantic and elsewhere – one of which was called The Case for Reparations. In that article, Coates argues that during slavery and post-slavery, white wealth accumulation in America was created ‘on the backs of Black labor which was stolen.’
  3. Racial Equity preface to Homeward DC 2.0: As you probably know, the Interagency Council on Homelessness will be releasing our second iteration of our city-wide plan to address homelessness in two months (at the March 10th Full Council meeting, open to the public: 2pm @ 441 4th Street (One Judiciary Square)). Last summer I co-chaired a sub-committee on Racial Equity with Robert Warren from the People for Fairness Coalition. Our assignment was to discuss how the topic of racial equity should be embedded into Homeward DC 2.0. There had been no explicit mention of racial equity in our 1.0 version and we sought to correct this.

In gratitude for all of your good work, and wishing us all a year ahead with more justice, more peace,

Schroeder Stribling
N Street Village CEO

CEO Schroeder Stribling Speaks at HAND Housing Networking Event

This morning, CEO Schroeder Stribling participated in HAND Housing’s “Network with a Twist” – an exclusive opportunity to dialogue with leadership from the Village alongside Enterprise Community Partners/CPDC and Paradigm Companies about leadership, motivation, and professional development.

D.C. Hypothermia Hotline: What You Need to Know

Save and share the Hotline number: (202) 399-7093 or 311. When calling, please include the time, the address or location of the sighting, and a description of the individual.

If there is an immediate risk to safety, always call 911.

Hypothermia alerts are activated when the forecasted temperature, including wind chill, is or will be 32° F or below; or, when the temperature is forecasted to be 40° F or below, and the forecasted chance of precipitation is fifty percent or greater.

Additional resources, including warming centers, are open around the city and available to individuals. Free transportation can be provided 24/7.

For more information, visit D.C.’s Department of Human Services website: https://dhs.dc.gov/service/hypo-hyperthermia-watch.

Village CEO Speaks at Community Chronic Homelessness Panel

Today, we are proud to have Village CEO Schroeder Stribling speaking alongside Miriam’s Kitchen, the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and the Downtown DC Business Improvement District to talk about ways we can work together as a city to create permanent and dignified solutions for individuals experiencing homelessness. This panel was part of the Partnership to End Homelessness Donor Learning Series focusing on “The Truth about Chronic Homelessness.”

Village CEO Presents to D.C. Superior Court Judges

Village CEO Schroeder Stribling presented to the Super Court Judges, including Judge Ann Keary, Presiding Judge, DC Superior Court (pictured).