202-737-9311 | info@thrivedc.org

Understanding Homelessness: Harm Reduction

Posted on September 12, 2023

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.

  • Understanding the Journey of Change
    Change is a universal struggle, a journey that demands patience, understanding, and unwavering support. Whether it's a decision to exercise more, eat healthier, or overcome substance use, the process of change is rarely instantaneous. Harm reduction recognizes this truth and acknowledges that even the most well-intentioned efforts can sometimes falter. It's about embracing the journey and helping individuals take small, incremental steps toward their goals.
  • Building Bridges to Sustainable Transformation
    Imagine knowing the right choices to make, yet struggling to make them stick. This is the essence of harm reduction. When substance use is part of the equation, abrupt cessation can pose serious health risks. Harm reduction recognizes this reality and provides a bridge between intention and action.
  • Beyond Substance Use: A Holistic Approach
    Harm reduction's impact goes beyond substance use. It permeates our clinical and social services for individuals experiencing homelessness. We acknowledge that progress isn't always linear and that housing, sobriety, and other goals aren't achieved overnight. Our social services staff work hand in hand with individuals, meeting them where they are in their journey and collaborating to define and reach their desired destinations. We challenge the notion that housing is solely contingent on compliance, recognizing that even setbacks are stepping stones to growth.
  • Upholding Dignity and Resilience
    We firmly believe that setbacks do not define a person's worth. Even the most successful individuals encounter stumbling blocks. Harm reduction aligns with our values, preserving the dignity and resilience of each person we serve.


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.

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

Client Hours:
Monday - Thursday
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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