Gas explosion damages transitional housing program, residents relocated 

A brown building next to a pile of bricks and yellow caution tape.

A gas explosion damaged Calvary Women's Service's transitional housing program. Photo courtesy of Calvary Women's Services

More than 30 residents of a transitional housing program were forced to evacuate after a gas explosion on Marion Barry Avenue in Southeast on Jan. 18. The building sustained significant water and explosion damage, and the organization is now fundraising to cover the cost of renovations. 

The women were staff and residents at the Calvary Women’s Service’s Good Hope. One of three transitional housing programs run by Calvary Women’s Services, the Good Hope program offers safe housing and access to basic services and meals to support women exiting homelessness. 

Firefighters responded to reports of a gas leak at the neighboring Danakil Convenience Store roughly 15 minutes before the gas explosion. According to Calvary Women’s Services CEO Kris Thompson, more than 30 women were safely evacuated from the building following the organization’s evacuation plan, thanks to the work of emergency personnel. The explosion also affected the daycare next door, Baby Einstein Child Development Center. Staff members evacuated 16 children and have moved to a transitional space while the organization fundraises for repairs. 

The residents of the Good Hope program were all safely relocated to another site, according to Thompson. Some have been transferred to one of Calvary Women’s Service’s other housing sites or another housing provider. Those who are in the process of receiving a housing voucher are working with case managers to potentially expedite the process. 

“Case managers have been working closely with each individual to make sure that whatever each person needs, we’re responding to that,” Thompson said. 

Thompson emphasized her gratitude to the local community for their support. In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, the residents of the Good Hope site waited at the nearby Capital One Cafe and then Busboys and Poets until they could be safely relocated to another housing site. Anacostia residents have delivered meals, and Thomspon noted that over 500 individuals reached out to the organization. 

The Junior League of Washington (JLW), a volunteer organization dedicated to female empowerment, has provided coffee and breakfast to Calvary Services employees and has awarded the provider a $5,000 JLW Community Assistance Fund grant to replace essential items destroyed by the explosion. 

“We are proud of our partnership with Calvary and happy to support them however we can in their time of need,” Kimberly Price, JLW president, wrote in a statement to Street Sense. 

The Good Hope building sustained significant water damage from the explosion and remains inoperative, according to Thompson Calvary Women’s Services began a new campaign called Restoring Hope, which accepts financial and volunteer contributions to help repair the building. 

“We were grateful for the support we’ve received from partners, from this community,” Thompson said. “Everyone just moved quickly to make sure everyone 

Issues |Shelters

Region |Southeast

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