Jenny is one of DASH’s Community Housing Advocates who works with survivors and their families in our scattered-site safe housing programs. Jenny works primarily with survivors who are both living with HIV/AIDS as well as takes the lead with many of our Spanish-speaking individuals and families.
Jenny has seen first-hand how this public health crisis has hit them the hardest.
During this pandemic, she has seen an overwhelming number of people who are undocumented, have been laid off, can’t apply for unemployment, or didn’t receive a stimulus check — all while navigating abusive relationships.
Jenny shares, “Seeing these inequalities so clearly motivates me to keep doing this work” to help educate survivors navigate these situations as best they can.
“A lot of people don’t have access to information so I’ve been explaining that you can’t get evicted during this time or that you can set up a payment plan with your landlord.” She continues to share ways to remain stably housed and resources that are available through DASH and community partners.
Jenny mentions that this work is hard, but every so often she receives a message like this one:
“Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me and my son during the program. I really appreciate it.”
Introducing: Right to Dream A new, scattered site housing and support program for transitioning youth survivors
We are excited to share the details of our newest program, Right to Dream, with you. Right to Dream is being launched with support from the DC Department of Human Services.
What is it?
Right to Dream is a scattered site housing program for transitioning youth (aged 18-24 years) who are survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence and are experiencing housing instability or homelessness. Like all of DASH’s programs, it is survivor-centered, low-barrier, voluntary, and trauma-informed.
Through Right to Dream, 20 transitioning youth survivors will receive wraparound supports and housing assistance for up to two years. They will be partnered with a DASH advocate who will help them find and set up their new home in the DC Metro area, check in with them regularly, and help them develop a plan for their safety. DASH advocates will support participants to identify their long-term goals and help them eliminate the barriers to achievement, helping them gain the skills, knowledge and supports to be confident adults who break the cycle of power and control their abusers forced on them.
Right to Dream participants will have access to educational opportunities, job training and career planning as well as a range of other community-based supports to help them recover from their trauma and become empowered. The goal at the end of the program is for each participant to be economically secure and able to maintain the lease on their own or, if they choose, to move to similar lease, and transition to self-sufficient adulthood.
Who is it for and why?
Transitioning youth are in a unique phase of life, no longer kids but not yet adults. This is a period of enormous change, when young people explore numerous roles and transitions, often leaving behind adolescent support networks, finding a job, and forming more complex intimate relationships.
Unfortunately, this is also a time when young people are especially vulnerable. Individuals are the most likely to be the victim of domestic or sexual violence during this phase of their life. Marginalized populations, such as LGBTQ youth or those living in poverty, are at even greater risk.
This program is the first of its kind in the District and surrounding areas. In partnership with the DC Department of Human Services, DASH saw the immense need for support services for this population and designed Right to Dream to help fill this gap.
What are we hoping to accomplish?
Right to Dream will:
Provide survivors access to safe, stable housing
Increase survivors’ safety
Increase survivors’ personal, economic, and safety-related empowerment
Provide supports that enable survivors to recover from their trauma
Support survivors to improve their overall wellbeing
Right to Dream will expand the availability of youth-friendly, survivor-focused, long-term transitional housing and services so participants are provided with resources to do more than just survive, enabling them to grow, achieve their own goals, and move toward independent lives.
How can YOU help?
One of the core components of Right to Dream is the support services for program participants. As we develop this portion of the program, we are looking to expand our partnerships in the community to help us provide program participants with more opportunities, including education and job training. If you are interested in partnering with us, please let us know by emailing email@example.com.
We are also recruiting more landlords and property managers to partner with DASH and provide housing through Right to Dream. Again, let us know if you can help by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the start of quarantine, Zaneta was concerned about what it all meant for her role as an advocate and how all the uncertainty would affect how she helps navigate survivors through the available resources.
“I’ve heard a lot of people joke ‘I’m sure you’re working a lot less from home’ but I’m actually working a lot MORE. I work with a lot of survivors who have a lot of anxiety about the pandemic that’s turned into frustration and I’ve been providing a lot of education around how to cope with that.
That’s what has kept me motivated – knowing that I’m providing education and access to resources that they might not otherwise have to stay safe and deal with their anxiety through this crisis.”
Zaneta Greene, DASH Community Housing Resource Specialist
Zaneta works with DASH families in our Empowerment Project, our scattered-site safe housing program, as well as provides services to elders.
Because of the limited housing options for elders as a result of COVID-19, Zaneta shared that she had to become more creative to help survivors navigate their safety planning.
“They’re stuck at home with their abusers all the time and all they want to do is flee. Usually, I am very hands-on and I would go meet with them, sit down with them as they fill out a housing application, but I’m not able to do that right now so I’m finding new ways of working with them to make sure they feel safe. At the end of the day, I’m working for the people.
DASH stands with ALL survivors of domestic violence, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, because EVERYONE deserves a safe place to call home.
Domestic and sexual violence can occur in any relationship, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or other intersectional identities. In fact, LGBTQ individuals are at a higher risk of experiencing domestic violence and face unique barriers to safety.
For example, 61% of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. Transgender women are three times more likely than others to experience stalking, financial abuse, and sexual harassment.
In addition to experiencing a higher risk of domestic abuse, LGBTQ survivors face unique barriers to safety. There is a distinct lack or resources designed specifically for survivors of this community. LGBTQ individuals may also be more hesitant to involve law enforcement.
At DASH we believe that survivors should not have to consider the impacts of homophobia and transphobia when seeking safety from domestic violence. We provide safe housing and support for ALL survivors.
To all LGBTQ survivors – we see you, we believe you, and we join you in celebrating Pride Month
The past weeks have been difficult for all of us on the DASH team as we collectively reel from the murders and loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and thousands like them throughout the years.
Like you and so many around the nation, I have spent countless days struggling to come to terms with the constantly renewed pain of being Black and Brown in America. DASH is an organization led by a Black immigrant woman, with a board and a staff who are majority people of color, serving predominantly women, men, and children of color. As an organization, and as individuals, we are deeply impacted by these recent events, and by the decades of systemic and structural racism at play.
We are and will always continue to be committed to providing a safe place to anyone who needs it, but above all else, to those who are in our care, who are primarily people of color.
Over the past few months, as we have dealt with the immense challenges presented by the COVID outbreak, I have been tired, weary, even exhausted. But throughout it all I have never felt hopeless. Today, I am sitting in the dichotomy of being both heartbroken and heartened.
I choose to hope that these terrible events will finally bring much needed and lasting change. But in order for that to happen, we need more than just headlines and outrage. We need long-term commitment.
Change is hard. Change takes time. Change is uncomfortable and it requires tenacity.
We stand in solidarity with the voices calling for racial justice, and equity. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and people of color across the United States. We stand in solidarity with our staff, our board, and our survivors. And we ask our white partners and supporters to make a long-term commitment to being uncomfortable, to being allies and to challenging white supremacy. We ask you to bring a racial equity lens to your workplace, your families, and your communities. We ask you to show up, listen, educate yourselves and act in solidarity.
Today, I grieve with you all. In the coming weeks and months, DASH will carve out dedicated time as a community to find intentional ways to use our voice to advance racial justice. We are and will always be committed to equality for all those in our care, and our community at large.
We stand together, ensuring home truly means safety for survivors and each other.
April 19 marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week, part of Volunteer Appreciation Month. All week long we will be celebrating our DASH volunteers and the vital role they play in furthering our mission to provide safe housing to survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Volunteers Are Essential
Volunteers are crucial to our work and help us accomplish our mission in a wide variety of ways. Over the past year volunteers have:
Facilitated a weekly art group for survivors living in our Cornerstone housing
Worked remotely to support our development and fundraising efforts, and helped us secure the financial support we need to continue functioning
Organized onsite group activities like beautification and landscaping projects
Donated their professional expertise pro-bono to run adult education classes and workshops for survivors.
And much, much more…
If you volunteered with us this year, THANK YOU. Whether you gave us your time, your resources, your talents or your professional expertise; whether you worked alone, or with your friends or colleagues, remotely, or on site; whether you were there once, or once a month, or every week… we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Volunteers Are Still Needed
Because the services we provide are critical, we can’t simply close our doors and stay home during this unsettling time. We are continuing to serve survivors and their families at full capacity. Our front-line staff is working tirelessly to ensure that our Cornerstone building is staffed 24/7 to ensure that it is both clean and safe for all.
While all in-person volunteer activities at DASH have been put on hold during this time, to keep both you and us safe, there are still ways you can help us out from afar.
Here are a few different ways that you could support DASH during this challenging time:
Donate some of the items on our urgent needs list (hand sanitizer, soap, pantry items) by purchasing these items from Target and sending them directly to DASH for our residents in need: tgt.gifts/DASHDC
Place a collection bin outside for friends, family and neighbors to drop off items to donate.
Host a Facebook fundraiser for DASH and share it with friends and family!
Contact a restaurant to find out if they can donate a meal (or more!) to our front-line staff
Have experience with WordPress? We could use your help making updates to our website!
Have a connection to a local business or restaurant that is still operating? Ask if they would be interested in partnering to donate proceeds to DASH
One Last Simple Way to Help
During National Volunteer Week we will be celebrating ALL our volunteers on social media, including highlighting individual stories and offering you an opportunity to share your own volunteer experience and be recognized. Follow along with our efforts on your preferred channel and help us by commenting on our posts to thank the volunteers that have given their time and talents so generously. Thank you!
Facebook – @DistrictAllianceforSafeHousing
Twitter – @DashDC
Instagram – @dash_dc
LinkedIn – District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH)
As the largest provider of safe housing in the District of Columbia, we cannot stay home – our services are essential to survivors in need and survivors currently in our care.
Help ensure every survivor and child living at DASH receives consistent, wrap-around, high-quality care during these unprecedented times.
How you can make a difference for your community:
Make a Donation.A financial giftto DASH provides the greatest support to respond to urgent needs for survivors and children, to continue to welcome new families fleeing violence during this crisis, and the flexibility for where its needed most as this evolves.
Donate Goods. An in-kind donation of daily basic needs and health care supplies is critical to support survivors and children in our care. Shop and ship through ourTarget Charity Wish List.
Share this page with your peers, raise awareness on social media, and invite your peers to join you in supporting survivors and families during COVID-19.
Together, we are united as a community. Thank you for your support and wishing you, our DASH family, peace, safety, and health during this time.
Announcing an Exciting New Partnership between The P&rtners of Compass and DASH
We are excited to celebrate Women’s History Month by announcing a new partnership with a company owned and run by women!
The P&rtners of Compass is a real estate team of women specializing in the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. With four generations represented on their team, they boast more than 46-years of combined experience in the real estate industry.
The team announced that as part of their Compass Cares initiative, they will donate a portion of ALL their 2020 commissions to DASH. They will also invite their own clients and partners to support DASH’s work through events and other opportunities.
There’s no better way to celebrate Women’s History Month than a company of women supporting a organization founded and run by women. Together, we are all committed to safe housing for women, children, and all survivors of domestic violence. You can learn more about The P&rtners at Compass at thepartnersdc.com.
How can YOU get involved with DASH and Women’s History
You can follow along and get involved with our celebration on the following platforms:
Make a donation to DASH in honor of your favorite woman – current or historical – and help us support survivors of domestic violence.
Want to do even more? Consider joining our Empowerment
Circle as a monthly donor. Your monthly gift will sustain our programs
year-round allowing us to meet the most pressing needs of the survivors and
families we serve. Pledge
At DASH, we are working diligently to help keep our community – survivors, staff, volunteers, and supporters – healthy and safe.
DASH remains on the front lines to ensure every survivor and child still receives our care during COVID-19. Domestic violence increases during times like this and can leave survivors especially vulnerable. Our doors are open and our amazing staff are working tirelessly to keep survivors safe.
DASH is proud to have incredible volunteers that support our mission and ensure our residents feel right at home. However, we are postponing all non-essential volunteer activities until April 1st.
DASH’s weekly walk-in clinic on Wednesday’s from 1:30pm to 3:30pm has been changed to a call-in clinic during this time. If you need assistance, please call our team at 202-290-2356 x 101.
Thank you DASH family, for your continued support. We will continue to keep you updated as this evolves and continue to ensure the safety of survivors and families in our community.
How you can help:
Make a donation. Your support provides the flexibility to respond to urgent needs for over 150 survivors and children in our programs.