A group of women gathered on the fifth floor of a housing complex in Logan Circle on June 15 to celebrate the opening of Sharon’s Place, a new transitional housing facility and residential employment program for women experiencing homelessness over the age of 18 in D.C.
The property is the latest addition to local homeless services nonprofit N Street Village’s housing portfolio which includes Miriam’s House, Erna’s House, Diane’s House, Step-Up Rapid Rehousing, Capitol Vista, Patricia Handy Place for Women, Phyllis Wheatly YWCA and their Flagship location.
Named after Sharon Hart, a homeless rights advocate who dedicated 30 years of her life to helping the women of N Street Village, this new facility will provide long-term (2 years) temporary housing for those enrolled, alongside support to finding jobs or stabilizing current employment.
“Too often, women working struggle to manage the myriad of stresses they face every day — this new program gives them the space and support to rest and stabilize,” Kenyatta T. Brunson, president and CEO of N Street Village, said to residents and supporters during the opening. Support and associated services will include case management, assistance for preparing for and finding new jobs, financial literacy guidance and referrals for job training and GED assistance.
N Street Village is the self-proclaimed largest provider of housing and supportive services for women experiencing homelessness in D.C.
Outside of Bethany Women’s Center
Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto spoke at the opening about her experience volunteering with N Street Village while she attended law school at Georgetown University.
In her comments, Pinto pointed to the recently finalized city budget for fiscal year 2024 and said she believes it will help address pressing housing needs. The budget provides for $33 million in federal funding to Emergency Rental Assistance Programs (ERAP) for this year, yet will not reopen for new applications, and will use funding to support those already in the program, as well as to fund Rapid Rehousing Programs. The finalized budget will, however, restore money for legal services for those facing eviction, for homeless services and funds 230 new Permanent Supportive Housing vouchers.
“When residents are given the means and support to thrive, they demonstrate the wide-spanning potential that everybody possesses,” Pinto said.
Carlita Walker, a former N Street Village resident, said that had a program like Sharon’s Place been in existence at the time she sought help, she would have jumped at the chance to be involved with it.
“When I lost my husband in 2007, I guess I had a breakdown because it was unexpected, so I had to adjust all over again,” she said
Walker credits N Street Village with helping her secure her current home, which she has been in for 12 years.
Sangita Joshi, case management director at N Street Village and who is overseeing Sharon’s Place, said that while it is a first of its kind employment model in D.C. in the way that it provides housing and opportunity for employment simultaneously, it is expected to be transformative and demonstrate a model that could be replicated and expanded in the future.
House of Ruth, So Others Might Eat and New Endeavors for Women provide similar services in D.C., yet none can be directly compared to Sharon’s Place, given its small scale which might provide for more one on one, culturally competent client service.
Picture of example room in program
Joshi added that while there are few filled spots in Sharon’s Place, intake will be continuous until they are at capacity.