GGW: Day centers put vital services for people experiencing homelessness in one place


DECEMBER 4, 2018
By Will Schick of Greater Greater Washington

People experiencing homelessness often have no place to go during the day, and figuring out where to find a meal, get an ID card, do laundry, and get started on the journey to finding a home takes a lot of effort and coordination. Day centers can help. They provide a safe and comfortable place to hang out when shelters are closed, and offer a variety of vital services in one location.

What do day centers do?

In February of this year, the Downtown DC Business Improvement District opened a day services center in the basement of New York Presbyterian Church, two blocks from Metro Center. The sleek facility provides guests with amenities like showers, laundry, haircuts, clothes, medical support, legal support, computer access, a needle exchange, employment counseling, and therapy for those that need it.

Neil Albert, the CEO of the Downtown DC BID, says the motivation behind the center is simple—it’s meant to “take someone from homelessness to being housed.” So far, the center is doing what Albert says he wants it to do. According to Nabavi Oliver, the BID’s director of administration, the center has already housed 48 people since their doors opened to the public nine months ago.

At the heart of the center’s strategy is serving as a single point of access to a wide range of services and amenities. There are counselors and case managers on site who help guests apply for benefits, seek employment, and — most importantly — find safe and stable housing. There are comfortable chairs and couches and places to socialize. There are even temporary tops and bottoms people can wear while they sit around and wait to have their clothes washed.

Read more from the Greater Greater Washington article here.