202-737-9311 | info@thrivedc.org

Supportive Housing

Thrive DC has been operating in Ward 1 for more than 15 years, focused on building relationships and deepening trust with our clients. As housing prices continue to soar across Washington, DC, we believe people should not be pushed out of communities where they have connection and support. People in Columbia Heights have come to rely on the consistency of a hot meal for breakfast and the fresh food distributed at our weekly food pantry. They know that, in the bitter cold of the winter, they can come to Thrive for a winter coat or launder their clothes as the summer heat rises.

Why Housing First?

The housing first model is one of the approaches that has the deepest evidence base for success. At Thrive, we believe that success comes from the focus on the "supports." While we strongly advocate for housing, it is only the first step. Our experience is that our clients need more. The individuals we see at our breakfast program have spent years disconnected from the routines of life that we take for granted. Core to our work is providing the scaffolded support to greater self sufficiency that will support long term success. That greater self sufficiency does not magically appear once housed; it takes years of dedicated support from highly trained case managers to address the many systemic injustices our clients have faced for years, if not decades.

Moving Towards Stability


Evidence has shown that housing first is an effective solution to homelessness and provides a platform from which people can work toward their own goals and improve their quality of life. That evidence must be coupled with fidelity to implementation. Core to the success of the housing first model is a focus on the critical supports that help empower individuals to make full use of their new housing reality.

Local Closer Look: Interview with Shane Mulhern

K-Love radio host Jack Church talks with Thrive DC's Executive Director Shane Mulhern about homelessness in Washington DC, the services Thrive DC provides, and the importance of serving people in the community where they live.

Listen to the 20-minute episode.



Harm Reduction

Thrive DC has been operating in Ward 1 for more than 15 years, focused on building relationships and deepening trust with our clients. As housing prices continue to soar across Washington, DC, we believe people should not be pushed out of communities where they have connection and support. People in Columbia Heights have come to rely on the consistency of a hot meal for breakfast and the fresh food distributed at our weekly food pantry. They know that, in the bitter cold of the winter, they can come to Thrive for a winter coat or launder their clothes as the summer heat rises.

Empowering Change Through Harm Reduction: Nurturing Growth in Individuals

At Thrive DC, we stand firm in our commitment to the holistic well-being of our clients, and this commitment is underscored by our embrace of harm reduction. Born from the field of addictions, harm reduction is not just a strategy, but a philosophy that guides our approach in supporting individuals to make positive changes in their lives, no matter the challenges they face.


At Thrive DC, we're more than a service provider; we're a community that believes in the power of incremental change. Our commitment to harm reduction is a testament to our dedication to nurturing growth, fostering understanding, and embracing the complexities of each individual's journey. Together, we're building a future where progress is celebrated, setbacks are seen as opportunities, and everyone's potential to thrive is recognized.


Thrive DC has been operating in Ward 1 for more than 15 years, focused on building relationships and deepening trust with our clients. As housing prices continue to soar across Washington, DC, we believe people should not be pushed out of communities where they have connection and support. People in Columbia Heights have come to rely on the consistency of a hot meal for breakfast and the fresh food distributed at our weekly food pantry. They know that, in the bitter cold of the winter, they can come to Thrive for a winter coat or launder their clothes as the summer heat rises.

Thrive DC: A Low-Barrier Organization Welcoming All Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

Every person deserves access to basic needs, such as food, shelter, and essential support, regardless of their circumstances. Thrive DC’s services extend to all individuals; documentation, background, or past experiences should not hinder anyone from seeking assistance and rebuilding their lives by creating a safe and non-judgmental space where they can access essential services.

We meet people where they are, in the community they live in.

Clients typically come to us first for basic emergency services, including hot meals, shower and laundry facilities, personal care items, and clothing. Our clients often experience mental illnesses, addiction, domestic violence, and trauma exacerbated by long term homelessness; a subset of our client population are individuals re-entering the community after a period of incarceration. As we get to know an individual, understand their background, and assess their needs, we can provide more robust, wrap-around services.

Based on our work we firmly assert that:

Supporting homeless individuals in the community they reside in is not just a compassionate response, but a necessity for building a stronger, more inclusive society. Thrive DC remains dedicated to our low-barrier approach, welcoming all homeless individuals to access emergency services and assistance without judgment or discrimination in their community.

Please welcome Vera Damanka to Thrive DC's team as our new Workforce Development Manager! Vera has strong experience working in the field and serving vulnerable individuals. We are thrilled to see all she will accomplish here at Thrive DC! Learn more about her below:

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background, and what are you passionate about?

I am a Certified Workforce Development Professional with 5 years of experience providing employment services to marginalized communities. I am passionate about helping people attain the dignity of work. I love helping job seekers identify their natural skills and aptitudes, which can bring value to an employer.

What attracted you to Thrive DC?

I was attracted to how Thrive DC provides low-barrier services to some of DC’s most marginalized residents. Everyone deserves the ability to have their basic needs met - food, shower, laundry, etc. -- and Thrive DC is uniquely positioned to provide those services to the community.

What do you like about your role here so far?

I am really excited about the opportunity to refine our Workforce Development program. We have been providing amazing services to clients for a number of years now, and I am hopeful that we can continue to improve our efforts to get Thrive clients placed in meaningful employment.

What has been a powerful moment you've experienced since you started working here? (with staff or client)

I had a chance to connect with a client during breakfast, and I affirmed her as she voiced some of the barriers she had been experiencing. When I offered her a potential solution, she looked me in the eye and whispered, “I’m so thankful you understand me.” I pray that I can continue to uplift our clients and provide them with hope and solutions in the midst of their challenges.

What do you look forward to accomplishing in your role as the Workforce Development Manager at Thrive DC?

I am looking forward to streamlining processes and strengthening the implementation of the employment services that Thrive provides. I’ve received wonderful feedback from my colleagues, and I’m excited to make some changes that will help our job seekers excel in the current job market.

Carl, one of our residents at Thrive DC's Men's Transitional House, has officially taken the next step in his journey and moved out last month!

Before moving into the house in August of 2022, Carl had been incarcerated twice, with his longest stay at 8 years. He'd spent time homeless, in and out of motels, and in a trailer before moving in. He was excited that our housing program helped to fill the gap between homelessness and securing more permanent housing as he navigated the complexities of coming home from incarceration.

Once he moved in, Carl hit the ground running. He has since completed and gotten early release from probation, while also working at a local restaurant as a food prepper. He is now training to become a manager!

Carl has 5 kids and loves spending time with them. He recently received a housing voucher to help him secure more permanent housing, and is excited to use the money he was able to save to buy new furniture -- he couldn't remember the last time he had done that!

Carl was a wonderful resident who always had a smile on his face. Thrive DC will continue to follow up on a monthly basis and support his journey however we can. We are so excited to see what he will accomplish in his lifetime and grateful that our housing program was able to serve him in his season of transition! (more…)

Our local supporters are rockstars! DC resident Kelcey has pledged to run a 15-mi loop around the District along with her dog, Finn, to fundraise money for Thrive DC. Her proceeds will directly serve our vulnerable neighbors in need of emergency services, case management, employment training, and more.
Learn more about her below and donate to her fundraiser today to help serve our clients!

Introduce yourself!

Though I am originally from Maine, I have called Massachusetts, Colorado and North Carolina "home" at various points in my life. Since July, I've been settled in Washington, D.C. and feeling extremely lucky to live here. I'm a program associate at USGLC;  an international affairs non-profit organization. 

My running partner, Finn, is a 5-year-old German Shepherd/Black lab mix. My husband and I rescued him when he was 3-months-old in Colorado. He loves running, chasing squirrels, and tennis balls! 

What inspired you to run this 15-mi loop to raise money for Thrive DC?

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, I was living in Boston and decided to create my own half-marathon to fundraise for a wonderful organization, Friends of Boston's Homeless. As races were canceled, I thought it would be fun to create my own race and have people "sponsor" the run as a way to give back in a time that created difficulties for everyone. 

Though many of us want to give back, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what organization we'd like to give to, and then wonder if our $10, $15 donation will really go that far. I've found that when I'm offered the chance to donate a small amount to a fundraiser, it's encouraging to see that my $10 is part of a series of 10, 15, even 20 other $10 donations that add up quickly. Clicking a link on an Instagram story, in your Facebook feed, or in your inbox creates a fast, easy avenue to giving back. Many people my age are saddled with the burden of student debt and skyrocketing rent prices, so knowing that you can still make a difference without making a gigantic dent in your bank account is comforting. 

How long have you been running, and why do you enjoy it?

I've been running for a few years, and it's one of my favorite ways to spend my free time! It's a great bonding experience for my dog, Finn, and I - nothing makes me happier than when he turns around during a run, tongue out, to look at me and wag his tail. We explore new neighborhoods, push our physical limits, and enjoy coffee and puppuccinos afterwards. It's up to you to guess who enjoys which... :) 

What is compelling to you about the work Thrive DC is doing?

It's on us to take care of each other. Life can be incredibly difficult, and we ALL deserve access to everything Thrive DC provides; emergency care, substance abuse counseling, re-entry support, safe housing, etc. I'm especially enthused and proud to support an organization that addresses the difficulties of both mental health and substance abuse issues. While food, water, and shelter are really important, I think addressing those problems is critical. All of us have a right to that assistance. 

What inspires you to give back to your community, both in Boston and here in DC?

 The greatest part of the human experience is sharing love and kindness with one another. So many Americans are a few bills, a medical emergency, or an unexpected tragedy away from losing safe, stable housing. Because it's not a guarantee from our government, the work that Thrive DC does - creating a safety net for vulnerable populations - is exactly what I want my community to have access to. I'm inspired by the work many of my friends and people in the communities I've lived in have done to work on expanding and enforcing that safety net. I'm not sure how long my time on this Earth will be, but I hope that much of it will be spent making a positive impact on the people I'm lucky enough to share it with.

Donate today to support Kelcey's race to help serve our most vulnerable neighbors in Washington, DC! Or, start your own fundraiser!

In honor of National Student Volunteer Day, we want to highlight a beloved volunteer of Thrive DC, Melanie Klein! Melanie comes into our facilities every Thursday to assist with next day meal prep and administrative tasks. We are so grateful for her commitment and service!

Melanie first heard about Thrive DC through her college, American University, where she had the opportunity to lead first year students through a day of service before classes started in the fall. AU’s Center of Community Engagement and Service suggested she take her students to Thrive DC, and Melanie hasn’t stopped coming since.

Melanie has been struck by how many people rely on Thrive DC every day for meals, showers, laundry, and other basic emergency services. “What I think is amazing about Thrive is its ability to provide comprehensive services that are not just temporary Band-Aids, but aim to help people in a substantial, meaningful, and long-lasting way.”

A meaningful interaction that stuck out to Melanie was a thoughtful conversation with Thrive DC’s Director of Programs, Jon Bolduc. Jon shared his commitment to the mission, where he sees Thrive DC growing, and his vast experience in homeless services.

Since moving to the District for school, Melanie has noticed the gap between those who are new to DC/temporary residents, and those who have lived in DC for years. “As a college student, it is easy to live inside the academic bubble and fantasize about Capitol Hill, but I believe it is most important to recognize people who live locally in DC, many of which are marginalized communities that are becoming gentrified and not receiving sufficient resources.” 

We are so grateful for students like Melanie and their contribution to our mission.

Meet Meera Kumar, Thrive DC's New Morning Program Coordinator!

We are so excited to announce a new member of the Thrive DC team, Meera Kumar! She will be serving as our Morning Program Coordinator. Learn more about her below!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am from California but I went to school in Boston. I came to D.C. looking for something different compared to those cities. I have been in the Social Work field for a couple of years, running a youth homeless shelter and working at a domestic violence shelter. I am also very passionate about food having worked as a line cook at a vegan restaurant in Boston.

What is your role at Thrive DC, and what do you like about it so far?

I am the new breakfast program coordinator and I love the opportunity to serve so many people in my community. Columbia Heights became my home away from home when I moved to DC and I have loved the opportunity to become a community partner and make a difference so close to home.

What attracted you to Thrive DC?

I think this opportunity specifically is what drew me to Thrive DC. Having worked at a restaurant previously, I missed being so close to food and grew up volunteering in plenty of soup kitchens. I appreciated the opportunity to do something closer to my roots and closer to what I enjoy.

What has been a meaningful staff/client interaction you've experienced since you started working here?

As part of my role, I will be serving as a Case Manager.  I've been working with my very first client here at Thrive DC to help with their benefits and insurance, and it's been very exciting to work with someone who is Spanish-speaking! Growing up learning and practicing Spanish, I never imagined I would be able to help people who speak it. It has been very meaningful for me to create a safe and comfortable environment for my clients.

What do you hope to learn from this experience?

I hope to learn more about DC and the people here, as well as more about myself and how I can grow better into my voice as a leader and manager.

What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies or interests?

I love to skateboard. Most of my clients get to see me on my morning skateboard commute. Like I said previously, I love to cook and this is one of my favorite hobbies after work.

When trying to end homelessness, there are so many different programs, services, and organizations vying for funding. There are general best practices on how to approach ending homelessness, but without sufficient funding, organizations have to prioritize how best to tackle the issues they feel they can make a difference on with the limited funding they have. 

One result of this limited funding is that rural areas are often neglected. Big cities often have very large, very visible homeless populations, and they accordingly have many organizations and programs to address these folks’ needs. In addition, because of the visibility, many cities are willing to use their own budget to pitch in and help these organizations provide services to help unhoused people get housing or shelter, so that the city is more attractive to tourists and prospective residents. 

Small towns and rural areas don’t have the large budgets that major cities do–forcing them to rely only on federal funding, their homeless populations are often less visible, and their more dispersed nature means longer distances between service providers. 

This creates service deserts. Adrienne Bush, executive director for the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, uses the term Service Desert to describe areas that do not have shelters or housing programs. It’s similar to the idea of food deserts, used to describe areas without access to fresh food or grocery stores. 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that of people experiencing homelessness in rural areas, 44% lived unsheltered. Sheltered unhoused people live with friends or family or in supportive housing shelters. Unsheltered people live in cars, parks, on the streets–any place that isn’t designed as housing. Experiencing unsheltered homelessness poses many risks, including: 

Without supportive services in rural areas to aid these individuals, they face these barriers alone. Housing is a human right, and those in rural areas deserve equal supportive services to their counterparts in major cities, because supportive services increase self-sufficiency and help end homelessness, both on an individual level and on the grander scale. 

Following up on their findings, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing up to $54.5 million in aid to rural housing agencies. This money can be used for permanent housing, supportive services, emergency shelter costs, housing repairs, food and clothing, staff and overhead, and more. These uses are more flexible than previous funds, which will allow organizations to use the funding in the way that they know will best serve their clients, as they are the frontline workers with expertise on what their clients need. 

That flexibility is a really important sign to organizations like Thrive DC. Over the years, we’ve focused more and more on what our clients are telling us as we create and implement strategies to end homelessness. Our clients are experts in their own lives. They have lived experience, and they know what aid would actually be beneficial. So strategies shift, services change, and with that, we need flexible funding to meet these evolving needs. 

This HUD grant for rural service providers opens an opportunity for organizations to better serve rural clients, but it also opens up the door to a future of more flexible funding that meets clients where they are at. Thrive DC looks forward to continuing to serve clients alongside organizations across the country, urban and rural. 

1525 Newton St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 737-9311

Client Hours:
Tuesday - Friday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM | 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Staff Hours: 
Monday – Friday
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
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