202-737-9311 | info@thrivedc.org

1.The official number of homeless people in the US is over 500,000. But experts believe the real number is closer to 3 million.

According to the US State of Homelessness report, 564,708 people experience homelessness on any given night—meaning they sleep outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program.

Amongst 32 of the largest US cities, DC has the highest homelessness rate with over 8,000 homeless individuals, or 124  homeless people for every 10,000 residents in the general population.

The rate in DC is almost double the national average.

2. The average age of a homeless person is 9 years old.

The face of homelessness is not an old man-- it’s actually a young child. HUD reports that on any given night, over 138,000 of the homeless in the US are children under the age of 18.

In our nation’s capital, families make up 52% of the homeless community.

3. The main cause of homelessness isn’t drugs or alcohol - it’s a lack of affordable housing.

With rent prices soaring across US cities, many low-income people turn to subsidized housing for a place to sleep.

But in recent years, HUD’s budget has been slashed by over 50%, resulting in the loss of 10,000 units of subsidized low-income housing each and every year.

4. For women, the main cause of homelessness is domestic abuse.

Over 90% of homeless women are victims of severe physical or sexual abuse, and escaping that abuse is a leading cause of their homelessness.

Slipping in and out of homelessness, studies find DC women stay in a low-barrier shelter a median number of 27 nights.

5. You can do a LOT to help.

Many homeless people rely on non-profits like Thrive DC for daily hot meals and showers. But with government funding cuts, these organizations need your help fundraising and donating.

Just $26 provides organizations like Thrive DC with a full month of hot showers for their homeless clients. You can also see your donations in action by volunteering with Thrive DC.

And if you encounter a homeless person on the street and want to help right then and there, print out or pick up these cards that include info about how to get any sort of help they may need.

Consider helping out your community today

Thrive DC is proud to have committed, engaged community members go above and beyond to help our clients escape homelessness. Below is Jocelyn's story about why she couldn't stay just a volunteer - and had to do more.

Why did you start volunteering with Thrive DC?

When I moved to DC last May, I was looking for ways to become more involved. I stumbled upon Thrive DC simply by chance and really liked what I saw on its website, but it took me a long time to finally commit to volunteering. It felt like much bigger of a commitment in my head than in reality.

Ultimately, it was just a matter of making the decision and taking action on it, and I haven’t regretted it since!

What attracted you to Thrive DC?

There are two things that I love the most about Thrive DC. The first is their holistic approach to addressing homelessness. All of their services are interconnected and they help get people back on their feet with as much independence as possible.

But the most valuable thing they offer is a sense of community. I believe that no matter the circumstance in life, a lively and supportive community always has the power of bringing hope. The ladies I see every Friday both encourage and have fun with each other and there is so much joy in the room; it’s a good reminder for me to know that even those who have little can make so much life out of the little that they do have.

What makes you most worried for our homeless clients?

There are some clients I see every week in the dinner program but you can tell their minds are somewhere else. I am worried their negative circumstances in life will bring some clients to lose hope, because hope requires a willingness from within to believe that things could get better and to keep fighting.

Why did you decide to join the Next Step Team (Thrive DC's monthly donor program)?

I joined the Next Step Team because I would like to see Thrive DC’s services expand to more clients and its community be made available to more people who need it. Volunteering is valuable as it helps make the programs happen and run more smoothly, but money, at the end of the day, ensures that these programs remain afloat.

I wanted to contribute, even just a little bit, to this organization that I have seen make an impact in the lives of the ladies I work with and in my life, too.

Why do you think it’s important to do more for our clients?

I don’t know where the ladies I see every Friday will be if programs like this don’t exist anymore.

Join The Next Step Team

Want to be a part of the Team? Click the button below. You'll join other concerned community members helping people in need take the "next step" out of homelessness.

Our Morning Program is aimed at providing our clients with fresh food, emergency groceries, personal care items, showers, laundry and mail.

Recently, American University students conducted an assessment on our male clients to get a better grasp of their needs and backgrounds. Not only has this report helped our team to further understand our clients but it has created a better awareness of DC homelessness for everyone.

To help you get a sense of who we work with, here are 5 things you should know about our clients.

1. About 1/3 of Our Homeless Speak Spanish

We are located in Columbia Heights, a region with a large Spanish population often overlooked when it comes to Spanish programs.

Wanting to address this growing issue, our bilingual Job Developer David Vicenty has implemented a Spanish Employment Workshops to help our Hispanic clients.

Twice a week, we provide two hours of working one-on-one with them to improve resumes, look for jobs online, and assist with completing job applications.

2. Almost Half Have Lived 5+ Years in DC

Despite DC being internationally recognized as a city with opportunities, DC’s homeless are growing and many are staying homeless.

Though we do provide a variety of programs to all of our clients, our mission is to prevent and end homelessness. That being said, this study is proving just how important it is to continue addressing an often neglected population.

3. Not All of Our Clients are Homeless

Actually, more than 30% are low-income individuals who are struggling to keep afloat. This can be especially difficult when buying groceries since healthy alternatives are often expensive.

Luckily, our Fresh Food Fridays provide a free farmer’s market for all of our clients. Therefore our place becomes a haven for many wanting vegetables, fruits, pasta and much more!

4. Our Clients KNOW They Have the Skills for a Job

In fact, 80% of our clients believe they have what it takes to land a job. However, many of them are currently not working yet and are looking for jobs.

We understand just how essential jobs are and help through our Employment Support and Real Opportunity Training Program. It’s through these programs that our clients are able to make a real change in their lives.

If you're interested in helping people find jobs, contact the Employment Specialist Jemahl Nixon at (202) 503-1521 or jemahl@thrivedc.org.

5. 60% of Our Clients Cannot Afford Public Transportation

Not being able to pay for transportation can be very hard to our clients since this often means they miss major appointments like going to the doctor or job interviews.

However, over one-third of our clients use tokens which allow for a free pass to board the Metro or Metrobus. Yet this continues to be an important issue. In order to help prevent homelessness, we have to provide those who cannot afford to use the Metro or bus the opportunities to get to job interviews.

How You Can Make a Difference

If you enjoyed getting an insightful look into who we serve and how we help, join the Thrive DC team either through volunteering or donating. To get started, contact our Community Relations Manager Greg Rockwell at 202-503-1528 or greg@thrivedc.org.

Click here to read more about the assessment.

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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