Volunteers Of America Opens The First Medical Respite Program For Women In The District Of Columbia

Contact: Nicholle Granger


Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas (VOACC) is proud to announce the opening of Hope Has A Home™ for Women, the first residential medical respite program designed to support women experiencing homelessness, mental illness, substance use disorders, and chronic illness in the District of Columbia. A partnership with AmeriHealth Caritas DC, Unity Health Care, Pathways to Housing DC, Developing Families Fund and The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, this integrated program will provide care and support to at least 30 women a year. 

Since 2019, the Hope Has A Home™ pilot program has provided more than 100 men too sick to be on the streets a safe place to rest and access post-hospitalization care. Of those served, 70% were placed into permanent housing or stable living environments, and 40% did not need to rely on emergency services or hospitalization after entering the program. Building off of this success, we are excited to create similar outcomes through the Hope Has A Home™ for Women program. 

“At the forefront of DC’s pioneering women’s medical respite facility, we are committed to transforming healthcare for homeless women who frequently turn to emergency rooms. Our holistic program extends beyond medical care, encompassing mental, emotional, and trauma-related support. Together, we aim to create a nurturing environment fostering the well-being and empowerment of every woman in our community.”

– LaToya Ramsey, Director of the Peer Operating Center & Medical Respite at VOACC

“AmeriHealth Caritas DC celebrates the culmination of the intention, commitment, and hard work of our partners that has resulted in the opening of Hope Has A Home™ for Women. This is an equity moment for women living in the District in need of medical respite services.”

-Karen Dale, Market President & CEO at AmeriHealth Caritas DC

Over 32% of those experiencing homelessness in the District are women. That’s nearly 1,600 women without shelter or stable housing on any given night of the year1. Not only are these mothers and daughters without a roof over their heads, many are victims of intimate partner violence, and more than half have a mental illness, substance use disorder or other serious health condition. Operated by women for women, the program will offer a wide variety of medical services, including gynecological and other specialized services through Unity Health Care. 

“Unity is thrilled to continue our impactful collaboration with Hope Has A Home™ to provide a new program exclusively for women. This innovative initiative is another step in our mission driven work of achieving health equity in the District and beyond and underscores our shared commitment to providing critical medical respite, behavioral health, and social support services to those experiencing homelessness.”

-Dr. Jessica Boyd, President & CEO at Unity Health Care

Women will receive help overcoming behavioral health challenges from our trusted and trained peer recovery specialists who have lived experience with substance use disorders and achieving sobriety. 

“We are empowering women in the District of Columbia to integrate medical, housing, and behavioral health support while providing them the opportunity for healing and connection to services in a trauma-informed environment.”

-Brandi Goss Burchett, Vice President of Maryland/DC at VOACC

Our nonprofit housing partner, Pathways to Housing DC, is known for originating the Housing First model nationally recognized as the standard for homelessness prevention and alternative to a system of emergency shelter / transitional housing. They will ensure the women receive person-centered case management throughout their time in the program, receive support accessing social services, and are placed into permanent and stable housing by the end of the program. 

“We are thrilled to embark on this transformative journey with Volunteers of America. This partnership exemplifies the power of collaboration in addressing the multifaceted challenges of homelessness. Pathways to Housing DC and Volunteers of America share a vision of collaborative, community-driven solutions to ending homelessness. This partnership reflects our commitment to working together, pooling resources, and leveraging our expertise to create lasting change in the lives of District residents.”

-Christy Respress, President & CEO of Pathways to Housing DC

“Hope Has a Home™ offers a holistic solution to ending homelessness, recognizing that health care and housing must be offered together for people to recover their lives. The addition of this innovative women’s medical respite care into our continuum of services brings us one more significant step closer towards breaking the cycle of homelessness in the District. This collaboration for the women’s site will serve as a beacon of hope, offering a safe and supportive environment for women in need of medical respite care, a vital component in their journey towards stability and recovery,” says Christy. 

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. 

We are extremely grateful for the generosity of The Developing Families Fund and The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, who have played a vital role in granting funds to launch the Hope Has a Home™ for Women program.

“Developing Families Fund is humbled by the opportunity to make a legacy investment.  This beautiful facility will help so many in need.  Our work is just beginning.  We are committed to all women of color being fully empowered and supported in their journey towards motherhood.”

-Dr. Marla M. Dean, Fund Advisor, Developing Families Fund

“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.”

-Mardell Moffett, Executive Director of The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

To learn more about Hope Has A Home™ for Women and how to get involved, visit www.voachesapeake.org/hope4women

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.

At VOACC, we have been helping to create Healthy Communities for All for over 128 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 900 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.

Skip to content