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).

Uniting Women, Employment Opportunities, and Dignified Workspace

N Street Village, UPIC Health, and WeWork are joining forces to support women in the DMV area who are experiencing homelessness.

The core missions of both N Street Village and UPIC Health revolve around helping and empowering women. This collaboration represents the best in public/private partnerships and aims to directly address inequality by providing meaningful employment opportunities within a dignified workspace to women experiencing economic and housing instability.

N Street Village clients will be hired by UPIC Health to deliver administrative patient services in a virtual setting, while WeWork will generously contribute a modern, collaborative office space for this important work.

A Letter from our CEO on #PurpleThursday

Today, the Village is wearing purple in support of #PurpleThursday and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The statistics are indeed staggering and the issue is one which deeply touches our Village community – residents, clients, staff, neighbors – women in general. But the connection to homelessness is especially profound.

National statistics tell us that 1 out of every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence each year. Here in DC, a study found that two-thirds of women report abuse, violence, or trauma as somehow related to their loss of safe and decent housing.

Half of the women arriving at our Village’s front door report domestic violence as a direct cause of their current crisis.

So today, we wear purple for everyone affected by domestic violence – no matter who or where you are as you read these words. We are here to say that we see you, we hear you, and we believe you. You are worthy of respect. And you are not alone.

Every woman deserves a safe and dignified place to call home. Never give up.

In solidarity with survivors and in gratitude for those who keep the doors of this Village open every day,

Schroeder Stribling
Chief Executive Officer
N Street Village

A Summer Letter from the CEO

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago, I visited N Street Village’s emergency shelter, Patricia Handy Place for Women, and had the chance to visit with some residents. There, I met a woman named Queenie – a tall African American woman who had just come from work.

She told me proudly that although she was sixty years old, she could still keep up with her younger colleagues at the D.C. Public School where she has worked for over twenty years.

Queenie had come to N Street Village a month ago and was still astonished to find herself there. She couldn’t really imagine how it had happened; her rent kept going up over the years as her pay lagged farther and farther behind until she was evicted.

She described having to choose what she would take from her apartment. How much could she fit in a few bags? How much could she carry and still walk? The feeling of having to choose between what she would take.

Then Queenie asked me, “So when do I get housing?”

I am accustomed to this question, but it always hard to hear. This January, more than 6,500 people in our city were experiencing homelessness and many thousands are on the waitlist for rental assistance (which is presently closed because the list is so long). And, as we all know, homelessness is only the tip of the iceberg of poverty. Below, racism and discrimination breed inequity in all areas of women’s health and well-being, especially for African American women who are nine times as likely to experience homelessness and whose life expectancy is lower by a full nine years.

Back with Queenie, I could only tell her that we’d work with her as hard as possible.

We also know that Queenie’s story is just one of many, and that there is still much work to be done. But your voice as part of our Village community is a testimony that every individual in our city is deserving of
worth and dignity.

Housing, health, and well-being are for everyone in D.C. – with no exceptions, no one left behind.

Together, we are not GIVING charity, we are DOING justice. Together, we run on a different economy. We can see a day when every woman has a safe place to call home, and it starts with a marketplace of equity and a currency of compassion.

When I asked Queenie whether I could share her story with you, and if she would prefer that I use a pseudonym, she did not hesitate – “PLEASE tell them,” she said, “and use my name – I want them to know who I am.”

Every day at least one new woman arrives at our front door. Thank you for being there to greet her. Thank you for being there to seek justice and to embrace hope. Thank you for welcoming each and every woman in her full humanity and by her own true name.

Schroeder Stribling
N Street Village Chief Executive Officer