House of Ruth

The Difference YOU Make: Abeni’s Story

The Difference YOU Make: Abeni’s Story

Prior to entering the program, Abeni was experiencing trauma brought on from abuse by her children’s father. She took the step to seek support from House of Ruth while pregnant and mother to a 10-month-old.

While transitioning to an unfamiliar part of the city she was worried for the safety of her and her children. But with time and help from House of Ruth staff, she felt supported and comfortable in her new home.

Abeni says that she is “very grateful to House of Ruth – for her new sense of security, and the preparation she’s received for her child’s birth.” She also praises the housing and parent trainings she’s received as the solid foundation she needed to begin “providing for her family to secure a positive future”.

Abeni has been determined to land a work-from-home job where she can financially support her family and be present for her young children. She has attended many work-from-home job fairs, received professional clothing from Dress for Success, and worked with staff to apply for jobs that meet her needs. After several interviews, Abeni has accepted a permanent work-from-home position as a Customer Service Specialist that will allow her to transition back into independent living and provide her family with the support that she desires.

In addition to landing this position, Abeni has obtained an Inclusionary Zoning certificate from the Department of Housing and Community Development. With this certificate, she can find an affordable home or apartment for her family with her new income. Within a few months, Abeni and her family should be in their own home just in time for the holidays.

Abeni is feeling hopeful for her future and she gives much credit to the support that she has received here at House of Ruth. The monthly group sessions have provided her with a sense of self after entering motherhood during a traumatic point of her life. Now she feels confident of the path in front of her and wishes to rediscover herself as a mother of two by creating countless new memories.


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The Difference YOU Make: Lucia’s Story

When Lucia first moved into to House of Ruth’s housing, she was depressed and her mental health was unstable. Lucia says she felt broken and in a very dark mindset, but the staff at House of Ruth helped her find her strengths and not focus so much on her weaknesses.  She says, “They gave me hope and positive coping skills to get through adversities and to see a positive future for me and my children.”

Lucia’s children have attended Kidspace, House of Ruth’s enriching childcare center for families overcoming the challenges of houselessness. In addition to daily childcare, Kidspace provides parenting support, as well as onsite speech therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, and mental health counseling for children and their parents.  These services enable families to access comprehensive support all in one location.  Lucia says,  “Having a child with a disability can be a very challenging experience; however, I was able to have moral support and know that I didn’t have to do it all alone thanks to House of Ruth.  I was able to be connected with resources to provide for the needs of my child.”

Lucia says her journey at House of Ruth “has been a rewarding experience that has allowed me to be able to have a healthy relationship with my children. I enjoy being able to provide and care for them.” She says the parent trainings she attends continuously teach her ways to nurture and be emotionally available for her children. She is grateful to have connected to House of Ruth and, with support from caring donors like you, has truly made the most of her experience here. Through her own impressive efforts and with support from House of Ruth, Lucia has found purpose, peace of mind, and stability for her family.  Thank you for making this possible.

*Name has been changed.

Annual back-to-school supplies drive!

As summer holiday comes to a close, students of all ages are preparing for a new school year. Our program participants and their families are no exception; help us ensure they have all the necessary tools for learning by donating school supplies today!

Why Donate Back-to-School Supplies?

Education is an invaluable asset to our participants and their families, allowing them to shape their future and the world around them. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to the resources they need to succeed academically. Donating back-to-school supplies plays a crucial role in bridging this gap and setting the stage for brighter futures.

Having the proper tools contribute significantly to a student’s ability to engage in the learning process. They boost self-esteem, promote creativity, and open doors to new opportunities.

What should I donate?

  • Backpacks
  • Notebooks and Paper
  • Pens, Pencils, and Highlighters
  • Calculators
  • Crayons and Colored Pencils
  • and other educational tools…

How to Donate

Drop off supplies at 5 Thomas Circle NW Washington, DC 20005:

  1. Gather Supplies: Before you visit the drop-off location, collect new or gently used school supplies such as backpacks, notebooks, writing utensils, erasers, rulers, and any other items that students commonly use in their studies.
  2. Visit the Drop-off Location: Head over to the designated drop-off point at 5 Thomas Circle NW, Washington DC 20005, anytime between 10 AM – 4 PM to hand your donations to the organization’s dedicated team. We can provide receipts for you to claim a deduction on your taxes.
  3. Spread the Word: Share House of Ruth’s mission with friends, family, and colleagues to inspire others to join this meaningful cause. This simple act of kindness can create a ripple effect of change within the community. Be sure to follow us on our social media as well.

Purchase supplies from our Amazon wishlist:

  1. Visit our Amazon wishlist: We have a variety of options picked out from our program participants to fulfill their needs for this upcoming academic year. Items purchased via our wishlist will be sent to our address through Amazon delivery. https://a.co/29eWYSr


Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn and grow without obstacles. By donating, you become an advocate for positive change and social progress. Join us in making a difference today!

The Difference YOU Make: Bahar’s Story

Bahar* and her son moved into House of Ruth’s supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence just under a year ago. They left a scary situation and came into the program with nothing but each other.

When Bahar first arrived at House of Ruth, she was afraid to leave her apartment. She spoke in a whisper and was very shy around staff. Her abusive experiences were still fresh on her mind, and she was extremely concerned about safety. She received counseling at House of Ruth, where she formed a strong relationship with her therapist. With time and expert support, Bahar began to feel safer and believe in herself again.

Bahar’s son is also recovering from his experiences with domestic violence in his former home. Bahar set him up with counseling through his school, and our staff has supported both as they recover from trauma…through planning camps and fun summer adventures with him. Together, they are making new, happy memories.

Bahar has also found strength, support, and practical information in group counseling at House of Ruth. Groups focus on essential topics…like domestic violence and trauma, parenting, home management, financial planning, how to write a will, and so much more.

Bahar had a good job when she arrived at House of Ruth and earned a healthy income. Still, her money was tied up with the abuser. There were outstanding bills connected to her name…She needed new financial management practices. She faced these challenges through financial literacy training and ongoing encouragement from House of Ruth. She has made great strides and improved her finances.

Bahar’s efforts paid off. After paying down bills, she got serious about saving money. She also found the courage to pursue homeownership. Just five months ago, Bahar shared that she wanted to buy her own home. With House of Ruth, she found a realtor…and now Bahar is looking forward to closing on a house in August!

Your generosity has made a critical difference. So much has changed in just a year. Bahar continues to have safety concerns, but with support from her therapist, she is moving forward and embracing life. She has a protective order in place and plans to install a security system in her new home. Bahar’s foundation is solid. With your partnership, we will continue to be there for her as she continues to thrive… Plus, thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, Bahar can continue to see her counselor as long as she needs to.

Thank you for helping to provide the safety and support Bahar and her son needed at a critical time in their lives. Thanks to Bahar’s determination and your generosity, their future is bright.

Our founder Veronica Maz

Veronica Maz was a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to helping marginalized and vulnerable populations in Washington, D.C. She was a sociology professor at Georgetown University, but her transformative journey began in 1970 when she took some of her students to visit D.C.’s “Skid Row.” Witnessing the dire conditions firsthand, Maz was deeply moved and felt compelled to take action. She left academia and started working on the streets of D.C., becoming an advocate for those facing houselessness, hunger, and abuse.

One of Maz’s significant accomplishments was her instrumental role in founding several vital social services agencies. In collaboration with others, she helped create the House of Ruth in 1976, a shelter for women who have suffered abuse and or houselessness. At its inception, the House of Ruth provided a haven for eight unhoused women in the basement of a row house. This was a groundbreaking initiative, as very few shelters were dedicated to serving women and their children in the District at that time.

In addition to House of Ruth, Veronica Maz helped found two other impactful social services agencies: Martha’s Table and So Others Might Eat (SOME). Alongside Father Horace B. McKenna, she opened Martha’s Table more than four decades ago, starting with just $93. Over the years, Martha’s Table expanded its reach, operating at multiple locations and providing educational, health and wellness, and family resources. Similarly, SOME became a renowned soup kitchen and provider of essential services for those in need.

Veronica Maz’s dedication and tireless efforts earned her the admiration and respect of many. Washington Post columnist George F. Will described her as a “hyperkinetic fireplug.” When she passed away in June 2014 at the age of 89, she was widely regarded as a shining light in D.C., having touched the lives of countless individuals by providing them with shelter, food, and a sense of hope. Maz’s legacy lives on through the organizations she helped establish. Her vision and determination continue to inspire others to work tirelessly for social justice, reminding us all of the profound impact one person can make in transforming the lives of those in need.

2023 Gift Card Drive

Many women experiencing homelessness or healing from domestic violence struggle to meet their basic needs, such as food, shelter, and healthcare. At House of Ruth, we are committed to supporting and helping women and their children. That’s why we’re launching a gift card drive to provide them with essential resources and support.

Why a Gift Card Drive? 

Gift cards provide a flexible and efficient way to provide support to our clients. By donating gift cards, we can provide survivors with the means to purchase the items they need the most, whether it’s groceries, clothing, or personal care items. This approach allows us to better meet each person’s specific needs rather than providing a one-size-fits-all solution.

Gift cards also allow survivors the ability to maintain their dignity and independence by giving them the freedom to make their own choices about what they purchase. This can be especially empowering for those who may have recently had their autonomy and decision-making abilities compromised.

Donating gift cards eliminates the need to sort, store, and transport large quantities of donated items, which can be time-consuming and expensive. This means that more of the resources can go directly to helping the individuals and families who need it the most.

How You Can Help

  • You can purchase gift cards for local grocery stores like Giant, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or Visas/Mastercards and drop them off directly to House of Ruth at 5 Thomas Circle NW Washington DC.
  • Purchase gift cards online through our Amazon Wishlist: https://a.co/2HXkXWr


Every donation, no matter the size, can make a big difference in the lives of women who are experiencing homelessness or have been victims of domestic violence.

Transportation options in Washington D.C. for Survivors

Are you in need of safe, discreet, reliable transportation in the Washington D.C. area regarding intimate partner violence (IPV)?
Please save this and keep it with you in case you ever need it!

This is a list of low-cost or free resources in the DMV area for individuals experiencing intimate partner violence who need help with transportation for whatever the reason may be.

DMV Metro Buses: Free/Zero-Fare Transit Services Starting in Summer of 2023


Transport DC

“Transport DC provides an alternative to paratransit transportation service for eligible MetroAccess customers who are residents of Washington, DC. Transport DC provides $5 taxi cab rides to and from any location in DC — without location restrictions — from the 1st of month through the 15th. For the remainder of the month, transportation is restricted to employment and medical treatment locations only.

Email transport.dc@dc.gov or call 202-645-7300 for more information…
Contact Email: dacl@dc.gov
Contact Phone: (202) 724-5626
Contact TTY: 711

Lyft/RAINN Partnership

“The program seeks to provide critical resources that survivors often need to begin their relocation journey, free of charge…RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline may be connected to a free Lyft ride, depending on their needs, through
their local sexual assault service provider… RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which offers free, confidential, 24/7 support to more than 300,000 survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones each year…Please contact RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or online.rainn.org.”
★ Call 911 in the event of an emergency/immediate threat of safety or in danger

Lyft/United Way Partnership

“211 is the most comprehensive source of information about local resources and services in the country. It’s powered by people: thousands of caring, local experts are available to help, 24/7. Calls to 211 are confidential and can be anonymous. The 211 network in the United States responds to more than 20 million requests for help every year. Most calls, web chats, and text messages are from people looking for help meeting basic needs like housing, food, transportation, and health care. 211 can be accessed by phone or computer at 211.org. A toll-free call to 211 connects you to a community resource specialist in your area who can put you in touch with local organizations that provide critical services. You’ll find information about: …a safe, confidential path out of physical and/or
emotional domestic abuse”


FOR STUDENTS : George Washington Students

“Students can use the “GW Rider” app to request a GW Safe Ride. Similar to ride-sharing apps, GW Rider allows students to see their driver’s license plate, driver’s ETA and the estimated time of drop off. The GW SafeRide vehicles are also identifiable by GW-branded wrap.

You can reserve a ride in three ways:

  1. Download the “GW Rider” app in the Apple or Google Play stores. Log into the
    app using GW’s Single Sign On (SSO) and request a ride.
  2. Log in to the website (https://gw.tapridemobile.com/ride/#/) using GW’s SSO
    and request a ride.
  3. Call (202) 994-RIDE (7433) between 7 p.m. – 4 a.m.
    During other hours, the GW Guardian app offers an additional layer of security. Free
    to the GW Community, this personal safety app enables users on and off campus to,
    among other features, set a Safety Timer and assign a virtual Guardian to monitor
    your safety late at night or while traveling.”

Chat/Text/Call for Support:

(resources and hotline/chat/text regarding intimate partner violence)
*24/7 support*
★ https://www.thehotline.org/ or 800-799-SAFE (7233)
(resources and hotline/chat/text regarding intimate partner violence)
*24/7 support*
★ Call 911 in the event of an emergency/immediate threat of safety or in

9 Myths about domestic violence

Myths about domestic violence

A list of common myths and misconceptions about domestic violence. Challenging these myths is one of the many steps we need to take in order to prevent violence and empower people to recognize and thereby leave abusive relationships.


Myth #1
Domestic violence is an impulse control problem and happens because they “lost their temper,” and not because they meant to hurt their partner.

The truth
Abusers act deliberately and with forethought. Abusers choose whom to abuse. And use violence because it helps them gain and maintain power and control, not because they lose control of their emotions.


Myth #2
It is easy for a victim to leave their abuser, so if they don’t leave, it means they are exaggerating how bad it is.

The truth
There are many reasons why someone can’t escape: fear or threats, lack of safe options, an inability to survive economically can prevent many victims from leaving abusive relationships.

The most dangerous time for a victim can be when they attempt to leave the relationship.


Myth #3
Domestic violence only happens among younger people.

The truth
Approximately half of all elder abuse in women is thought to be domestic violence “grown old”. Older women experiencing abuse are also less likely to seek and receive help.


Myth #4
Domestic violence only affects the adults in the household.

The truth
An estimated 3.3 to 10 million children witness domestic violence annually. And there are numerous links between serious emotional and psychological problems from exposure to domestic violence.


Myth #5
Abusers are violent in all their relationships.

The truth
Most abusers do not use violence in other non-intimate relationships to resolve conflict. And often times present a different personality outside the home than they do inside, which can complicate a victim’s ability to describe their experience.


Myth #6
If a person had better self-esteem their partner wouldn’t abuse them.

The truth
Domestic violence has nothing to do with self-esteem. It is about the perpetrator wielding power and control over their loved one. It is not the victim’s fault, and will not go away with better self-esteem.


Myth #7
Domestic violence only happens in heterosexual relationships.

The truth
Domestic violence also occurs in LGBTQ relationships. In addition to the universal coercive tactics of an abuser, LGBTQ individuals may experience the added fear of being “outed” to family, friends, and peers if they leave the relationship.


Myth #8
It is not considered domestic abuse if both parties use physical violence against each other.

The truth
Assessment of domestic violence hinges on patterns of coercive behavior in order to control another person. A victim may use physical violence in self-defense.


Myth #9
Once an abuser, always an abuser.

The truth
The key to changing abusive habits is the abuser’s willingness to accept responsibility for their actions, want to change, and seek individual or group counseling away from the victim. This does NOT imply that the victim is responsible for encouraging this change nor having to forgive their abuser.

Alma’s Story of Hope

In 2021, Alma* was accepted into House of Ruth’s FamilySpace housing program. FamilySpace serves mothers who have struggled with substance abuse. Alma lives in her own apartment in the community and receives both income-based rental assistance and case management support from House of Ruth. Alma has gone through difficult times, but thanks to your support, House of Ruth has been here to help her recover.

Alma is in her sixties, and most of her children are already independent adults. Alma is a survivor – a survivor of domestic violence, substance abuse, clinical depression, and loss. Within a period of six months, Alma lost several people she was very close to, including her partner, who died from overdosing. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, Alma experienced challenges with accessing her usual mental healthcare provider and obtaining medication for her depression. With the onslaught of so much overwhelming grief and the triggering of previous trauma, Alma turned to alcohol and drugs to self-medicate.

Two months ago, Alma’s son found her after she overdosed. With the help of Narcan, paramedics were able to save her and bring her to the hospital. Alma expressed that she was ready for further treatment, and her case manager connected her to the Psychiatric Institute of Washington. There she went through a one-week detox process, and she decided to pursue additional treatment. She spent 28 days at an inpatient facility. While there, Alma was able to learn and practice new coping mechanisms. She says she now feels like she has the tools to maintain her sobriety and mental health. She is back on medication for her depression, regularly seeing a therapist, and has connected with Narcotics Anonymous for critical ongoing support.

House of Ruth is supporting Alma as she puts her whole self into healing. Our staff has seen Alma’s energy and outlook change so much – she is healthy, smiling, and feeling really good about her growth. She is embracing the support available to her and wants to stay connected to ensure her continued sobriety and good health.

*Name has been changed

Gifts for Families 2022

Gifts for Families is an annual program that we host for the families and women currently in one of our 15 programs here at House of Ruth. With more than 450 people, we strive to give each person two gifts for the holiday season so they may celebrate with their loved ones.

We are always in need of funds to sustain our ability to offer survivors of domestic violence and homelessness homes, to offer high-quality childcare at no cost, and to provide counseling to domestic abuse survivors. During the holidays, we also ask for your special support as we work to purchase each gift from our Target registry. From arts n’ crafts to gift cards, your support makes all the difference to our community.

Thank you for all that you do.

Where can I find the registry?
Our target registry is here.

How do I use the registry?
Find our instructional how-to video here.

Where do the gifts go?
We aim to give two gifts to each individual in our program. It is often easier to find buyers for children’s gifts over adult gifts – but we need both!

How do we give gifts to our families?
Each of our programs has amazing staff who will come to our office, pick up gifts for their program, and deliver them to survivors.

Can I send a gift that isn’t on the registry?
You may, and we will be grateful. At the same time, we would love if you could select gifts from our registry as our families have picked them out!

Why send a gift card?
Gift cards allow our responsible families and women the freedom to purchase what they need – groceries, clothing, and other necessities.

Please email Elizabeth Kiker at ekiker@houseofruth.org or call 202.597.5803 with any questions or concerns regarding Gifts for Families.