VOACC To Open First Medical Respite Program For Women In DC

Contact: Nicholle Granger

January 16, 2023 Washington, DC

Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas (VOACC) is proud to announce that we’ve received a $20,000 grant from The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation to support the launch of Hope Has A Home™ for Women, a new medical respite program designed to support women experiencing homelessness, mental illness, substance use disorders, and chronic illness in Washington DC.

In 2019, VOACC launched Hope Has A Home™ in DC in partnership with AmeriHealth Caritas DC, Unity Health Care and Pathways to Housing DC to provide homeless men too sick to be on the streets a safe place to rest, get the mental and physical care they need, and move into homes of their own. Building off of our success, we plan to open Hope Has A Home™ for Women in the summer of 2023 with the goal of helping at least 30 women annually recover from their illnesses and transition into permanent housing.

“This grant will help provide high-quality care services for women surrounding women's health, behavioral health, and primary care,”

says Anthony L. Covington, Sr. Director, Peer Services & Medical Respite, VOA Hope Center (DC).

“We are very grateful to have The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation support us.”

Over 26% of those experiencing homelessness in DC are women. That’s 1,000 women on any given night of the year. Not only are these mothers and daughters without a roof over their heads, many are victims of gender-based violence, and more than half have a mental illness, substance use disorder or other serious health condition.

“Medical respite homes fill a critical gap in the healthcare system. We are honored to support Volunteers of America as it launches the Hope Has A Home™ respite program for women, which will be an important resource for our community,”

says Mardell Moffett, Executive Director of The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.

Housing is only the first step to freeing someone from the grips of homelessness for good. Serious mental and physical illnesses can make staying housed in the long-term very difficult. That’s why addressing both housing and health related needs is so important. But in DC, there are currently more resources and support available for men than women.

"This program and funding from organizations like The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, will allow us to continue to grow these needed services not only in the District of Columbia, but in other areas we serve,”

says Dr. Sheryl Neverson, Senior Vice President of Clinical Strategy.

Hope Has A Home™ will not only be for women but will be led by women. Our all-female staff of nurses, service coordinators and housing specialists will provide the full range of support vulnerable women need to heal and be successful. All medical services, including gynecology, prenatal, mammograms and other primary care services will be provided by Unity Health Care, our nonprofit medical partner. Women will receive help overcoming addiction from our trusted and trained peer recovery specialists who have lived experience with substance use disorders and achieving sobriety. And our nonprofit housing partner, Pathways to Housing DC, will ensure the women are placed into housing by the end of the program and remain housed.

To learn more about our Hope Has A Home™ for Women and how to support the launch, visit us online at www.voachesapeake.org/hope4women.

About The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation is the largest private, independent, local foundation dedicated exclusively to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The Foundation is the legacy of Morris Cafritz – one of Washington’s leading commercial and residential builders from the early 1920’s to the mid-60’s – and is committed to improve the quality of life for residents of the area. Since 1970, the foundation has granted awards totaling more than $587 million. In just the last ten years, $197 million has been awarded to more than 1,000 organizations in Community Services, Arts & Humanities, Education, Health and the Environment.

About Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas

Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas (“VOACC”) is a faith-based, nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire self-reliance, dignity, and hope through housing, health and human services. Our vision is to ensure that all people live in safety, with social, emotional, and physical well-being, spiritual fulfillment, justice, and hope.

At VOACC, we have been helping to create Healthy Communities for All for over 125 years by aligning housing, health and human services. We actively pursue health equity by filling the gap in housing and care for underserved populations, including those who are experiencing homelessness, low-income, underinsured or uninsured, justice-involved and veterans. By offering integrated housing and care, we address the social determinants that impact the long-term stability for those in need.

Through a dedicated team of management, staff and volunteers who are guided by our Core Values – Visionary, One Body, Integrity, Compassion, Excellence, and Faith – we are the safety net for thousands of men, women and children each year across Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and the Carolinas. We operate over 49 programs focused on 8 areas of service: homeless services, affordable housing, mental health, substance use recovery, intellectual/developmental disabilities services, community re-entry, veteran services and workforce development.

VOACC has over 800 staff members and more than 2,000 volunteers. The organization helps over 10,000 individuals and families every year from Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and the Carolinas. For more information on VOACC, please visit www.voachesapeake.org.

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