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Homeless Victims Have Rights: The Importance of Support and Victim Services

Posted on November 26, 2018

Mariah, our Communications Coordinator, sat down to chat with the newest member of the Thrive DC family: Marciel, Re-Entry Specialist and Case Manager. We are now able to offer victim services to our clients through support, referrals, and connecting clients to services if they have been a victim of a crime.

The purpose of this NEW program is to provide victims of violence with specific resources to improve their quality of life. Victim services includes resources and referrals for homeless victims of crime in the last 3 months from the day they share the event of a crime with us. This includes (but is not limited to): assault and battery, property damage, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, hate crime, harassment, theft, and other violent crime.

Fatal assaults against people experiencing homelessness outnumber hate-crimes against all protected classes combined. Between 1999 and 2015, at least 1,657 homeless individuals were violently attacked, in many cases because of their housing status, according to a report by the National Coalition for the Homeless. This is only including those that are reported.

Homeless victims have rights. We’re going to be talking more about how we’re providing support for our clients while bringing public awareness to this issue.

Tell me more about what you’ve been up to!

So we received this grant so the cool thing about this grant is that we’re not giving direct services but referring most of the clients coming in who need support to other organizations and agencies that have the space and capacity to see them for a long period of time, help them get what they need if something was damaged or stolen, or help them get the legal services they need.

Right now-I’m working on adding the questions to our intake forms and updating our Spanish documents, We’re going to create a short 2-3 questions survey so I have documentation that they came in and I can follow up/check on them, see what services I referred them to. I’m building the materials I need to best serve our clients.

What does victim services mean and who can access support from you to get referrals?

Anyone who is a victim of a crime. So for example:  if you experience stalking, sexual assault, domestic violence, etc-it’s a variety of things that fall under that umbrella. What’s cool is there’s a special victims unit of the metropolitan police department that I’m connecting with in case anyone wants to report or follow up.

So that’s what I’m figuring out, how I can connect with other organizations. It’s unique because we’re not offering direct service so it may be a little confusing so we’re here to bridge the gap. It’s difficult to navigate all the resources in the District. So I’m putting together resources , with the help of Hailey [Program Coordinator and Case Manager]. She has a ton of knowledge about the services offered in the city and has been super helpful. Which helps when it comes to making sure a resource is a good fit and the client feels comfortable accessing their services.

Most of the people I’ve met with so far are women. It’s crucial to know where do they feel more comfortable and which agency will respect their identity or preferred name and pronouns. She’s helping me put together a huge spreadsheet of resources in the area and after that I’m going to build relationships each month with different organizations to ensure we’re creating a streamline process and build community while we’re at it. This will include information on where I’ve referred clients so we can make sure they’re getting everything they need.

So you’re a new staff member, how long have you been at Thrive DC? What got you interested in working here?

I’ve been here for almost two months. I started part-time working primarily with the re-entry folks. Then this grant happened, they asked if I wanted to become a full time team member and I said yes! I’ve never worked with returning citizens and I was curious to know the challenges that they face when they come out.

I know the challenges that human trafficking victims and domestic violence victims experience. It was interesting to see how similar the struggles and barriers that they face can be. They have been through different life challenges but can overcome and I see some relations of their struggles.

I’m excited to meet the clients! They come in for so many different things, I’m most looking forward to get to know them and fostering relationships. It’s important to know someone has your back and is looking out for your needs. Hopefully we can continue growing, getting grants, and building support to make this program even better.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a crime in the past 3 months, contact us at 202-737-9311 to connect with Marciel or stop by during our open hours from 11am-12pm and 1pm-3pm Wednesday-Friday.

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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