VOA Chesapeake & Carolinas Awarded $145,000 to Launch Hope Has A Home for Women in DC

Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas (VOACC) is proud to announce that we have been named a 2023 Catalytic Funding Awardee by the Developing Families Center (DFC) as part of their effort to support maternal health efforts for women of color in Washington DC. As an awardee, VOACC has been granted $145,000 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 program will be the first medical respite program of its kind in the District to provide high-quality care services for women surrounding women's health, behavioral health, and primary care all under one roof and in a residential setting,” says Dr. Sheryl Neverson, Senior Vice President of Clinical Strategy. “We are very grateful to have the Developing Families Center support us.”

As maternal and infant mortality rates in DC remain as one of the highest across the country, the DFC seeks to turn the tide by investing in community-based organizations within Wards 5, 7 and 8, where women of color continue to experience health disparities and face socioeconomic and structural challenges when it comes to accessing affordable and quality maternal care.

“The nation’s capital remains in crisis when it comes to maternal health as Black women not only account for 90% of all-pregnancy related deaths in DC, but the implicit bias regarding health disparities, when it comes to Black and Brown women, remains,” says DFC Executive Director Ruth Pollard. “Through our funding efforts, we are able to support the advancement of accessible, quality and equitable maternal health programs, services and initiatives – giving women of color and their families a brighter outlook.”

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 Developing Families Center

As a foundation, Developing Families Center (DFC) partners with and accelerates organizations whose mission is to improve maternal health for women of color in the District of Columbia. By investing and putting resources where they are needed most, community engagement and advocacy efforts, DFC serves as a catalyst in positively impacting maternal health outcomes.

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 10,600 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.