202-737-9311 | info@thrivedc.org

Understanding Homelessness: Supportive Housing

Posted on September 21, 2023

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

  • Success isn't always linear. It takes time for clients to get to where they want to be, and oftentimes there are bumps in the road. The housing first model demonstrates that housing is a right and should not be contingent on how "successful" someone is, or the "progress" they are making towards a goal. As advocates, we need to make space for the ups and downs clients experience on their journey. Through the creation of supportive environments that build on client assets, challenging times become opportunities for growth, rather than a return to being unhoused.
  • Help individuals transform their own lives. The road towards stability and self-sufficiency is a process. Critical wrap-around services for the formerly unhoused provide the needed building blocks that support the development of self-sufficient behaviors. Lasting change will only happen once individuals are able to navigate the systems and challenges that are part of life. By helping them develop the tools they were not able to utilize when unhoused, clients are able to begin to address life-altering challenges such as mental health, addiction, and chronic medical issues.


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.

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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