The ICH: Making Homelessness Rare, Brief, and Non-Recurring in D.C.

There are any number of reasons a woman may find herself at the doors of N Street Village, including mental health, addiction, history of trauma, job loss, or domestic violence, but as you know the root cause rarely come down to a single thing.

Homelessness is the visible symptom of a compounded number of systemic issues with no easy solution.

That’s why in 2005, the Interagency Council on Homelessness in D.C., often referred to as the “ICH,” was formed. N Street Village is proud to be a member and participate in a number of workgroups and meetings. Our CEO, Schroeder Stribling, was appointed by the Mayor to the Council in 2006 and continues to serve as the Co-Chair of the Executive Committee.

The ICH represents the infrastructure of the District and Mayor Bowser’s collective efforts to prevent and end homelessness.

Representatives from government organizations, service providers, advocates, formerly homeless leaders, and community members come together to facilitate interagency coordination with regard to planning, policymaking, program development, and budgeting for the homeless services system. The ICH’s current strategic plan, Homeward D.C., has a goal of making chronic homelessness in the District rare, brief, and non-recurring.

This goal truly takes a Village and many of these meetings are open to the public. To find events near you or to get involved, visit www.ich.dc.gov/events.

2018 SHERO Walk Highlights!

The Village SHEROs came out in full force for the SHERO Walk last month! With the help of our full community, we raised nearly $80,000. We celebrated the morning with dancing, arts and crafts, and a two mile walk to visit Erna’s House and the Patricia Handy Place for Women. Together, you ensured that N Street Village can meet each woman at the door with dignity and hospitality.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:

SHERO
Cindy and Mark Aron | International Building Services | Marcia and Chuck Solem

Caped Crusader
Carolyn Arpin and Benjamin Sacks | Robin Halsband and Jeremy Spector | Korth Construction |
Margaret and Gary Maring | Dale McDaniel | Portia and Joseph Migas | Ashell and Larry Robertson | Mary Sophos |
Ruth and Arne Sorenson

Village Friend
Hillary and Tom Baltimore | Patrick Callahan | The Conrad Group | Joan and Gene Durman | Nancy Hartsock | Loeb & Loeb | Susie Moore | Andrea and Scott Ponsor | Judy and John Ritz | Florence Roach | Peggy Sparks | Jeanne Specchio | Amy and Mark Tereck | Thompson Hine LLP

Special Thanks
Alicia Coshan (Decoy) | Lee’s Flowers and Gifts | Outdoor Voices | Philz Coffee | Pret a Manger | Sotto

A Letter from Our CEO: Finding Hope in Current Events

Last Thursday, the Village hosted a conversation on racial equity with Tamara Copeland, author of Daughters of the Dream and President of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, and Laurie Williams, N Street Village Manager of Food Services

I asked them about the role of hope in our present troubled times, and their responses resonated with our whole group.

“Permission has been given,” they said, “for bigotry and bias to show itself in the public square. Whether it is tolerance for police violence against Black men, or dismissal of the impact of sexual violation of women, or voter suppression, or attempts to “cancel” transgender as a recognized identity, we are living in a time when hatred has been invited out of the shadows.”

“The hope in that,” they continued, “is that we can see the truth of what we’re up against more clearly. And perhaps this visibility affords us a new opportunity to take action against the implicit biases and structural racism which have been lurking in dangerous secrecy and reinforcing oppression.”

That same Thursday night, we went home to the news of pipe bombs being sent to national figures targeted for their politics. And yesterday, we watched an anti-Semitic tragedy unfold with the mass shooting at a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, during services which included a baby-naming ceremony.

These events underscore Tamara and Laurie’s point: in our current national climate, permission has been given for open hate and violence. Denigration has been tolerated. Fear of “the other” has been stoked and is boiling over.

So how are we to respond? What role are we to play in realizing the hope about which Laurie and Tamara spoke?

Our N Street Village community is a concentrated version of “the real world.”

Every day we encounter those who are different from us in ways both obvious and invisible: race, age, gender expression, housed/homeless, political beliefs, sexual orientation, mental health/illness, economic status, addiction/recovery, privilege/disadvantage, etc.

Every day we encounter someone who could be seen an “other” to us.

This means that every day we also have multiple invitations to challenge our implicit biases and to seek interpersonal justice. We are invited to acknowledge our well-worn habits of mind which automatically see an “other” — and instead to exercise new habits of heart which see our commonality and which instinctively reach for connection.

Some days our “isms” will get the better of us – that too is a part of our commonality – imperfection. But I believe that on balance our Village strives to be example of courageous community and radical welcome. I believe that most days our Village is a place where good intention is assumed, where safe space is created for difficult conversation, and where we decry division and work to counteract injustice.

So that, I believe, is how we are called to realize “necessary hope for a better future” that we spoke about last Thursday: one person, one conversation, one welcome at a time.
In my 15 years here, I have been proud to watch many moments in which our community members look beyond apparent difference to see instead our shared humanity. We often repeat our shared belief that “we are more alike than we are different.” Though these moments may seem small in the face of mass shootings and hate violence, they are acts of solidarity which can accumulate into a wave of “beloved community” as Dr. King called us to create. And the wave we create in our small corner of the world will carry ripples beyond our boundaries and contribute to taming the waters of division.

As we walk through the Village this week, let us practice finding commonality instead of division and let us stand with and for one another where there is grief, or fear, or discrimination. Let us repair our small corner of the world by holding ourselves accountable to our principles of radical welcome and purposeful unity.

We will not erase our history – Orlando, Charlottesville, Pittsburgh and more – but we WILL write our future.

In our conversation last week, Tamara asked if people knew about the “Negro National Anthem.” It is a beautiful and powerful hymn and carries a special meaning for us at this time. The lyrics of the first stanza are below:

Lift every voice and sing till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

Peace,
Schroeder

Details about the American Airlines First Class Ticket Drawing

Raise $1,000 on your individual SHERO fundraising page by midnight, October 31, 2018 and be entered into a drawing to win two first-class airline tickets* generously donated by American Airlines!

Tickets will be issued as a pair. The drawing will take place via Facebook Live on N Street Village’s Facebook page on November 1. Winner will be contacted via email. All current fundraising counts towards individual goals, and will accrue until 12 AM EST on October 31. You do not need to be present at the SHERO Walk to win. Tickets are good for travel between the US 48, Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. All travel must be completed by March 9, 2019.

  • Must raise $1,000 on personal fundraising page (can be a direct personal gift and/or contributions from friends)
  • This award letter is void if sold, purchased or bartered.
  • Award letters/tickets are non-transferable. Award letters are not replaceable if lost or stolen and cannot be extended or renewed.
  • A Processing Fee will be charged to reinstate travel not cancelled prior to ticketed departure (based on the class of service).
  • Passengers are not eligible for American AAdvantage mileage credit or any other promotional benefit that American may offer.
  • No AAdvantage or Electronic Upgrades Allowed.
  • Travel is not valid on AA codeshare flights.
  • Travel must be via the most direct American Airlines/American Eagle routing. Unnecessary and circuitous routings, connecting points, and/or segments are prohibited.
  • When redeeming a First Class letter and First Class is not offered, travel will be valid for Business/Premium Cabin.
  • Maximum one stopover allowed on applicable routing. $100.00 USD Per Person Stopover Fee Applies.
  • Fees, taxes, surcharges, and service charges are the responsibility of the passenger, including checked baggage fees and other airport related charges.
  • All Fees are payable via credit card and are NON-REFUNDABLE.
  • One credit card per booking and must be in the name of one of the passengers or be a corporate card.
  • American Airlines reserves the right to change blackout dates, embargo free travel, and change policies without advance notice.

Questions? Contact Makenzie at mdelmotte@nstreetvillage.org.

N Street Village Staff Spotlight

Due to recent growth of N Street Village programming, we felt that it was time to expand the Volunteer and In-Kind Donations team. And without further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce the Village volunteer community to Donna-Marie Thompson, the Volunteer and In-Kind Donations Manager and Kelli Powers, the Volunteer and In-Kind Donations Coordinator. They will be assisting me, Heidi with all kinds of fun and exciting volunteer lead activities and services that go to benefit the women we serve. Let’s get know Donna-Marie and Kelli…

 

I am a New York native that has been in the Washington, DC area for over 10 years. I have a strong passion for giving back to the community and believes that you are a strong refection of the energy that you put into the universe. In 2015, I joined the village team as a Development intern and later as the Gala Coordinator. Since that time the Village has held a special place in my heart and every Christmas you can find me serving lunch at the flagship.

On the weekends I work with a nonprofit based in Woodbridge, VA serving displaced and underserved populations in the DMV area. In my free time I love to travel and I’m always on the search for my next adventure.

 

I was born and raised in North Carolina, I recently moved to the D.C. area as a member of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. I lived in Charlotte throughout high school and am the younger of two daughters in my family. Following high school, I attended school at an all-women’s college in Winston-Salem. After graduating in May from Salem College with a B.A. in Religion, I decided I wanted to serve with members of the D.C. community for a year before attending Divinity School. It is my hope to become a prison chaplain; however, I am beyond excited that I have the opportunity to become a part of the N Street Village community for the next year.During my time in D.C., I am living in an intentional, sustainable community with seven other wonderful volunteers! In my down time, I thoroughly enjoy binge-watching shows on Netflix, cooking, and probably spending too much time on YouTube.

Many of you may also know Carlita, a Village Alum and fan favorite of the community. Carlita volunteers her time in the volunteer and in-kind donations office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Most of you may not know that Carlita carefully sorts and distributes most of the in-kind donations that are generously shared with the community—we would be lost without her!

 

We are so excited to have such a wonderful group of women supporting the community and we look forward to seeing each of you around the community soon!

 

June Volunteer Spotlight

This month get know N Street Village volunteer, Pam Curington. Pam has been an active volunteer with the community since October 2016. Pam serves lunch every Monday and serves as a volunteer program assistant in our day center on Wednesdays. Pam’s spirit and enthusiasm is infectious so much so that we can’t imagine Wednesdays without her. Let’s get to know Pam…

I am a native Washingtonian and the third of eight children. I have one son and two grandchildren. I attended school in Washington, DC and graduated from Chamberlain Vocational High School in 1974. I studied at the University of District of Columbia and in 2002 I earned a certification from the Virginia Massage Training. I served as a Federal Government employee for 36 years and retired in January 2014. I also founded Warm Hands and Hearts, a 501c3 non-profit in 2009. Each year during the Christmas season I collect donations and sponsor a hats, socks, and gloves drive for the homeless. I had a desire to donate clothes to a shelter and heard about N Street Village. I was very impressed with N Street Village and decided to volunteer my services. On my first day, I felt like was part of the N Street Village family.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant? Carolina Kitchen.

On a Sunday morning, you will find me…at Victorious Life of Faith Church.

Who is one of your favorite musicians? Jeff Majors.

What is last movie you watched (and enjoyed)? Black Panther.

Describe N Street Village in 3 words or less. Helpful, caring, and faithful.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at N Street Village? I enjoy coming to N Street Village because I get to meet different types of people. I have learned not to sweat the small stuff. N Street Village staff has taught me patience, and how to accept people for who they are. When I first came to N Street Village, I felt at home. I truly believe that God placed me here for a reason. I also have a homeless ministry and I see some of the same people when I go out to feed in the parks on the weekends. I now feel closer to the clients because I know their names and understand a little more about their journey. I have visited several shelters in DC and N Street Village is the best one ever.  The staff really cares about the clients and the clients really care about the staff.

Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories? One favorite memory is when I was playing UNO with the clients and one of the clients always speaks with a soft voice. Well, once the game became challenging, the soft spoken client’s voice became loud.  I laughed to myself and said, oh she can speak louder!

May Volunteer Spotlight

This month get know N Street Village volunteer, Peter Brusoe. Peter serves lunch each Wednesday with a teammate from Bloomberg. Peter also coordinates in-kind drives, fundraisers, and is a true Village champion! Let’s get know Peter…

I grew up in upstate New York to the most amazing parents a guy could have!  Mom & Dad took my siblings and I to interesting places, made sure we read, played sports, and lead by their personal example the importance of being involved and giving back to the community.  I attended the University at Albany studying history and political science and was active with the debate club, Phi Alpha Delta, and student government.  As a senior, I was lucky to do a DC Internship working on housing policy, and fell in love with Washington. After earning my Master’s Degree from Albany’s Rockefeller College I earned my PhD at American University.  I was teaching and working at a think tank, and in 2011, the amazing opportunity to join Bloomberg as a Campaign Finance and Lobbying Data Analyst arose.  Bloomberg has an amazing employee volunteer program, and was introduced to N Street Village by my colleague Ned Waugaman.  The rest they say is history! 

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the DC area? I grew up in the Town of Florida in Upstate New York, I went to college at the University at Albany, and moved down to DC in 2004 to pursue Doctoral Studies at American University.  I’ve been down here ever since!

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant? There are way too many to choose from, but I would say Guapo’s up in Tenleytown is my default go to.  I also really enjoy Open City, and Clyde’s.  I wish Chef Laurie (N Street Village’s Food Services Manager) would open up one soon, because whatever she makes, is always mouthwatering!

On a Saturday evening you will find me…Enjoying all that life has to offer! Some weekends I take a day trip to Philadelphia or New York, some weekends I go to see a play, explore a new part of town, or do board game nights with friends, or stay at home and read a really good book or work on writing articles.

Who is one of your favorite musicians? I am in an Aaron Copland mood right now.  His Fanfare for the Common Man I always find inspiring, and Appalachian Spring contains parts of Shaker Hymns from the area of Upstate New York where I grew up.

What is your favorite D.C. landmark? I love the Lincoln Memorial! The building itself is an amazing structure, and I love reading the Second Inaugural and Gettysburg Address.  I also love seeing all of the tourists and their reaction to the building and how Lincoln speaks to them.  When I think of what the Lincoln Memorial has meant for so many people who have gathered there to advocate for a better world, I have chills down my spine.

Describe N Street Village in 3 words or less. Family for all.

What makes N Street Village unique to you? N Street Village has an amazing sense of community.  Every time I come in to help serve lunch or do a resume workshop, I feel like I am part of that community and I am so blessed to be able to be part of everyone’s life at N Street Village.

Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories?

There are way too many memories to share! My three favorite are when my colleague Gopi and I pooled our money and had Bloomberg Philanthropies match a gift to sponsor a special lunch of ribs and collard greens.  Chef Laurie out did herself, the smiles were amazing. Another time, my colleague Sarah in NY organized a Bloomberg Government resume and career workshop for N Street Village. We did a ton of resumes. A month later I saw one of the ladies at lunch who shared that she landed a job!  It was such a fantastic feeling! Finally, there was the opening of the new servery.  My colleague Megan and I walked into the dining room and saw the new gleaming serving areas and we were so excited.

“My whole world changed when I came to N Street Village.”

Shaketa grew up with little family support or guidance, which led to using drugs and alcohol at an early age.  Living on the streets and “partying” was her life until one day her drug of choice, PCP, caused her to have a seizure.  She knew she needed to change.  The next day she quit “cold turkey” – it was time to start taking care of herself.

In April 2014 while still homeless and early in her sobriety, a friend recommended N Street Village.  She came to the Day Center and met with Evelyn Green, Manager of Day Services.  She connected with Evelyn and because of the Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement (CAHP or Coordinated Entry) system for single individuals experiencing homelessness, it was determined she would benefit from permanent supportive housing, or having her housing and services linked to help her stay in permanent housing while receiving case management services. She was asked about her interest in living at Erna’s House, N Street Village’s permanent supportive housing program for women with histories of chronic homelessness.

“My whole world changed when I came to N Street Village.”

Shaketa was finally off the streets, sober and living in a safe and supportive community at Erna’s House.  The stability and support at Erna’s House helped Shaketa find her confidence and grow.  She turned a part-time security job into a full-time position.  And her hard work paid off and was recognized by others: Shaketa recently received a rental subsidy through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Step Up program and now has a permanent apartment of her own.

Even though Shaketa has moved on to more independent housing, she will always be a member of the N Street Village family.  Shaketa returned to Erna’s House last Thanksgiving and cooked a large meal for the residents and staff as a thank you for the support she received while living there.  “N Street Village showed me how to love and give.”

Today Shaketa is happy, healthy and thriving.  She loves her job and her apartment.  In the future, Shaketa would like to open her own soul food café and name it after her grandmother, who taught her how to cook.

Looking back, Shaketa is grateful – “I value the supportive community that N Street Village provides.”

Sherron’s Inspirational Road to Recovery

Sherron – (left) today with 12 years of sobriety, (right) at the height of her addiction.

Sherron had a good life – a caring husband, two wonderful children and a 23-year career with the D.C. Police Department – but something was missing for her.

At 36 years old, she started using crack to fill the void.

Before she knew it, Sherron had lost everything – her family, her job and herself. What started as a weekend away with new friends turned into nearly 12 years of getting high in New York City. One morning, on her way to buy crack, two polices offers said a simple ‘good morning.’ After years of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, something about that simple greeting served as a wakeup call. She got on a bus back to D.C. and never looked back.

After several days of detox, Sherron made her way to N Street Village where she met Evelyn Green, the Day Services Manager.

“I was crying and didn’t know where to go or what to do. Evelyn gave me a bus token and told me to come back every day.” Sherron came back day after day and with the help of Village Day Center programs and doctors in the Wellness Center, she slowly made her way back to health.

With housing in a sober environment and a job, Sherron knew she still needed the support of the Village – she continued to come back for meetings and activities and eventually lead the meetings. In 2009, N Street Village offered her a job as a Program Assistant in the Recovery Housing Program. “I learned so much in that position. I could identify with every aspect of the resident’s lives.” Sherron went on to earn her certification in Addiction Counseling and now lives in Oklahoma with her husband, who is also dedicated to his sobriety.

The Village was honored to feature Sherron as a speaker at the Annual Empowerment Luncheon on June 15. She is an inspiration to us all!