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.

Staff Spolight – Abrar Sheikh

ABRARMeet N Street Village Education and Employment Intern Abrar Sheikh.  Abrar began working at N Street Village over a year ago.  In her role, Abrar offers ongoing support to clients as they pursue their education and employment goals. Originally from Saudi Arabia, Abrar is a senior at Catholic University where she is studying social work. She’ll return home after she graduates this summer. Let’s get to know Abrar:

NSV: What inspired you to work at N Street Village?
AS: When I first came to N Street Village in my junior year, I saw how everyone here is eager to help. This is the reason that I chose N Street Village as my internship site during my senior year. I felt it was and is the right place for me to develop my skills.

NSV: What do you do on a daily basis at N Street Village?
AS: Through my work in the Education and Employment Center, I help women by providing resources to assist with finding employment or furthering their education. This year, I also created a curriculum and led a course on time management.

NSV: What is one of your favorite N Street Village memories?
AS:  My very first Tea Time. This is a monthly event where the entire N Street community gets together to socialize. It was a really great experience.

NSV: What inspires you to continue with the work you do every day?
AS: The staff is really inspiring.

NSV:  Describe N Street Village in 3 words.
AS: Very warm place

 

A Place of Her Own

Lavone was tired of living in a public shelter. She had to share space with other women and do everything—eat, shower, sleep—when somebody told her. She had no privacy and her personal property was not respected. But she was there because she had no other choice.

Living in a shelter was a huge change for Lavone. For 25 years she had her own place in Southeast Washington. She worked as an administrative and medical assistant. When her husband died in 2007 and she couldn’t find another position in her field, she could no longer afford rent. She was soon evicted and was homeless for the first time in her life.

Erna’s House, N Street Village’s newest permanent supportive housing program for formerly homeless women, was just what Lavone needed. In April 2012, after being without her own place for more than five years, she moved into a one-bedroom apartment at Erna’s House. Now after working a full day with D.C. Public Schools in food preparation, Lavone comes home to her own place where she can relax, rest, and cook for herself.

Dave and LavoneAs a resident of N Street Village, she attends Job Keepers meetings to meet and network with other working women. She is also working with Dave Wasserman, an N Street Village volunteer, to develop a budget so that she can save more of her hard-earned paycheck.  She hopes to be able to save enough money to buy a car and house of her own.

Thanks to her hard work and the support of N Street Village, Lavone is happy and stable again. After experiencing so much adversity, she is planning for a bright future.

By Shane Yost, Manager of Individual Giving – story originally published in N Street Village’s Village Voice newsletter.

You Helped Pat

PatOne night after being beaten and verbally assaulted one too many times, Pat finally got the confidence to leave her abusive boyfriend.

With only the clothes on her back, Pat left – and for the first time in her life, she was homeless. Looking for somewhere safe where she could focus on getting her life back together, Pat found N Street Village.

At the Village, Pat moved into Luther Place Night Shelter, a transitional shelter where a woman can stay until she locates more permanent housing. Pat began feeling hopeful again as she started the hard process of rebuilding her life.

After working with our Employment and Education Center, Pat now has two jobs and is able to afford a place of her own. Pat is happy again—she is safe from violence, employed, and has her own home.

There are so many more women like Pat who find themselves in circumstances they could never have imagined. Please make a gift this holiday season to offer these women a new beginning.

Because of your support of N Street Village, our city’s most vulnerable women have a place to go.  By making a gift today, you will ensure that every woman who walks through our doors in 2013 is offered care and compassion.  These women are counting on you.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy New Year,
Schroeder Stribling
Executive Director

P.S. Be sure to make your tax-deductible gift before December 31 – you will be helping women like Pat make a new start in 2013.

Volunteer Spotlight: Dave Weinstein

After Dave Weinstein retired from a career in information technology, he was looking for a way to share his passion for financial management. Dave’s own experience has taught him that almost everyone has a hard time talking about money. Dave does not, and as such he wanted to share his skills with others.

That’s why Dave is a perfect fit for our Education and Employment Center (EEC). In his volunteer role, Dave has taken on the difficult task of helping N Street Village clients—women who have very little income—understand how even they can save money.

To do this, he will have a woman map out her expenses for the month so that she can see exactly how much money she is spending. Inevitably, Dave reports, she is surprised when she realizes her expenses are less than her income but she has no idea where the additional money went. With this lesson, Dave demonstrates that there is always room to save.

Dave notes the many challenges Village clients face. For a client who has had very little control over her money for most of her life, patterns are hard to change. Without bank accounts, it is easy for a client to spend impulsively. And despite having a limited amount of money, she can be very generous, often lending to friends. The end result is that by the middle of the month, she has spent her entire income and saved nothing.

One money management skill Dave advocates to change this is for a woman to pay herself first before paying her bills. This way, she always saves money. For Dave, even if a woman sets aside just a few dollars a month, it is an accomplishment, and helps her have more control over her finances.

In addition to working with clients individually, Dave is excited about a new endeavor working with Senior Peers, the Village’s client volunteer team. He’ll be conducting three hour-and-half training sessions helping them develop better financial management skills.

The Village salutes Dave for his sharing his skills and helping women take control of their financial situations.

By Shane Yost, Manager of Individual Giving – story originally published in N Street Village’s Village Voice newsletter.

Secretary of Education Visits N Street Village

We were honored to welcome Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to N Street Village today. Secretary Duncan is this year’s National Honorary Chair of the federal government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). He came to N Street Village to learn about the comprehensive services we provide to homeless and low-income women and to hear about the CFC’s role in supporting our programs.  Executive Director Schroeder Stribling hosted the tour, which took Secretary Duncan and members of his staff through several of our programs, including Bethany Women’s Center, the Education and Employment Center, and the Wellness Center.

On the tour, Secretary Duncan spoke with clients and residents who benefit from our programs.  “I felt very proud to share my N Street Village experience with Secretary Duncan,” said resident Carol Toran, who receives support from our Education and Employment Center and attends Job Keepers, a program created to offer mentorship to women who are employed. “N Street Village’s Employment and Education Center helped me receive the training and support I needed so I could get back into a field of work that I truly enjoy.”

CFC is a federal charity campaign organized by the federal government to support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world.  Last year, support from the CFC accounted for 6% of funds raised by N Street Village from individuals, and provided approximately $45,000 in support of our programs.

$45,000 makes a significant difference in the lives of the women that N Street Village serves:

  • 163 women can access health care from a licensed nurse in our Wellness Center.
  • 114 women can receive meals, laundry, showers, outreach, referrals, and crisis support in Bethany Women’s Center.
  • 22 women can receive intensive one-on-one assistance with education, job training, and job placement from our Education and Employment Center.

Get involved:

  • Our CFC number is 90946.  There is still time to contribute to your workplace CFC campaign, the season closes on December 15th. If you are a federal employee, click here to learn more about how you can donate through the CFC.
  • Contact Kate Akalonu (kakalonu@nstreetvillage.org) if there is a CFC fair at your place of employment.
  • Share our CFC number (#90946) with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter.

[slideshow]

Poverty from a New Perspective

By Schroeder Stribling, N Street Village Executive Director

Washington’s “great divide” goes far beyond that of party politics, and according to a new report on poverty, hits much closer to home than most of us care to believe.

According to this month’s U.S. Census Data report, over 46 million Americans (nearly 1 in 6 people) were living in poverty in 2010—the largest number of Americans in poverty in more than half a century. These latest figures are indicative of nationwide, long-term unemployment, and certainly signal the need for innovative solutions to put Americans back to work.

From my vantage point, the challenge ahead is even greater than job creation. I speak every day with homeless and extremely low-income women in the District – those who are struggling to find their way out of chronic poverty. I work with a community where the median income is $2,400 per year, and where support for those with mental health and physical disabilities and other barriers to employment is more limited than ever. For most of our clients, a home of one’s own is only a hope because our city has a critical shortage of affordable housing and because they lack the steady and adequate income that would be necessary to support it.

Numerous organizations have developed creative solutions to address barriers to individual employment, and their methods are working. For instance, at N Street Village our clients face tremendous obstacles – low literacy, histories of incarceration, mental illness, trauma and addiction. In response, our Education and Employment Center helps chronically unemployed women with job training, placement, and retention programs that work. Last year, 75% of the women who graduated from our home health care training program found jobs, and 96% of the women who received employment retention support from us maintained their jobs for at least three months.

Programs and resources for people in poverty are being cut here in D.C. and across the country – and we are seeing the effects. In August 2011, N Street Village saw a 24 percent increase in the number of women seeking our services as compared to the year prior. We anticipate even greater numbers coming to our doors this fall, as the District’s approved FY 2012 budget removes three out of every five dollars from human support services and other low-income programs. As demand grows and resources diminish, we – and other organizations like ours – will be faced with difficult choices as we strive to provide the health, mental health, housing, and employment services that we know are effective for those in need.

I am encouraged by President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which proposes investments in sector-based training programs and tax credits for employers who take a chance on hiring long-term unemployed workers. While our government officials are strategizing to put America back to work, D.C. residents and the District’s public and private sectors need to act in partnership to protect the remaining services available for our most vulnerable neighbors.   We must support effective programs, and we must invest in them now to prevent longer-term and more costly problems in our future.  I know that if we work together we can create lasting solutions that allow every homeless and low-income person to find a path out of poverty and toward dignity and quality of life.

 

Photo of the Week

Team N Street Client Volunteer, Renee, stocks the Bethany Women's Center Clothing Closet with clothing appropriate for the cooler weather. Renee opens the closet twice a week for clients in need of a new outfit and is in charge of keeping the closet organized and efficiently stocked. Team N Street is a client volunteer program through N Street Village's Education and Employment Center.

Back to School at N Street Village

Our Education and Employment Center (EEC) assists women in achieving their literacy, vocational training, volunteer service, and paid employment goals.  For N Street Village client Karen Ball, working with EEC provides her with the opportunity to sharpen her skills and better position herself for employment in the home health care industry through our Working in Supportive Senior Environments (WISE) job training program.  Watch Karen’s video and learn what it takes to become a WISE woman.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I76xD420yvE]